Zynga co-founder departs for greener pastures

As the company's revenue continues to slowly sink, co-founder Justin Waldron has decided it is time to jump ship.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
Credit: Facebook

A co-founder of social media gaming giant Zynga Justin Waldron is leaving the company.

Waldron took to Facebook on Wednesday to announce his departure, writing:

"I've decided it's time to leave Zynga and venture off on my own again. It's been 6 and a half years since we pushed the button to launch our first game, and each moment since has been magic.

It's incredibly humbling to have worked with such a talented team. I am grateful to have had the chance to help build a company that touched so many people. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of it -- both in the trenches and for playing the games."

According to Waldron's Quora profile and his own entries, the developer was approached by the other Zynga founders to build and launch Texas Hold'em Poker together. After working for several months on the product and launching the poker game on Facebook, the team decided to move to an office building in San Francisco.

"For me it wasn't just the numbers that convinced me, but the feeling that what we had created was fundamentally different and disruptive to gaming," Waldron writes. "The interactions in our game were totally different than previous online poker apps because of the real social component. It felt like the first time you used Facebook or any other product that you now can't imagine living without. We decided to expand it to more game genres and an industry was born. I dropped out of school and never looked back."

The games developer provides no details of what he will do next, but Waldron is a keen investor in a number of startups -- and so it may be that this provides a clue to his future. On Angel List, Waldron says he is interested in startups involving consumers, education, social media and the Internet, and he has invested in Momentum Machines, YourMechanic, Delectable and InstantCab, as well as providing mentorship to The Thiel Foundation.

A month after Mark Pincus stepped down from the CEO post to be replaced by former Microsoft executive Don Mattrick, a number of other high-profile executives jumped ship. The San Francisco-based company also said in June that it would be cutting almost 20 percent of its global workforce.

Financially, Zynga has marginally beaten analyst expectations every quarter for the past year, but after announcing in July the firm planned to give up on real-money gaming efforts in the U.S, despite the revenue streams this business could have offered, shares tumbled. Monthly users have also steadily fallen.

The firm's next earnings report will be released 24 October.

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