Paul Thelen

Paul Thelen

Founder, Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Big Fish Games. He has an MBA from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington.

Seattle, Washington, United States
Accredited investor
Member since March 06, 2012
  • About
Investor interests
Type of investor Angel
Typical investment size $250k - $500k
Typical investments in a year 2
Categories of interest
Locations of interest
Credentials Accredited Investor, Qualified Purchaser

I am a(n):


If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?

Serendipitously fell into it...

My favorite startups:

Tesla, Zappos

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

Watching politics and bureaucracy infect a growing company is frustrating.
Having no one to blame for failures but yourself is rewarding.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?

As my fourth grade teacher stated so eloquently, "If you ASSUME something you make an ASS our of U and ME." Live your customers' lives and listen to data.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

You must be passionate about your vision or you will burn out.
You need to be focussed or you will be average.
You need a good team, one person can only do so much.

Full bio

In 2002, Paul Thelen founded Big Fish as a bootstrapped one person start-up game studio. His vision for Big Fish quickly pivoted from a focus on building out the Big Fish game studio to establishing and scaling a customer-centric, developer-friendly casual games marketplace. Big Fish is now the leading global casual games brand, with five world-wide offices, more than 700 employees, 500 developer partners and several million paying customers each year. Paul focuses on driving the company's strategic vision, reinforcing the company's culture and enhancing the Big Fish brand with their worldwide customer base and developer network.

Prior to founding Big Fish Games, Paul spent six years at RealNetworks where he launched RealAudio, RealVideo, RealProducer and the RealArcade games service. Earlier in his career, Paul was a business consultant for Mercer Management Consulting, founded a systems integration start-up and worked as an engineer for IBM in their mainframe and UNIX workstation divisions.

Paul holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.