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Gower Brothers of Jagex

Great St Mary's Church marks the centre of Cam...Image via WikipediaThe Gower brothers have not made much of a splash on the Cambridge Cluster scene but have quietly built up Jagex and the RuneScape game into a £200million business with reports saying that the brothers still own 52% of Jagex with Andrew Gower owning 38.5%.

Andrew has been building games virtually since coming into this world in 1978 but he had to wait until 2001 until he came up with the idea of RuneScape.  It was re-launched in 2004, after a re-write of the code, presumable to help the servers cope with the millions of users.

According to their website, Jagex has some 5.4million players active in the last two weeks.  If the subscription is some £5 per month that adds up to quite an income – no wonder they have been voted as one of the top 100 places to work.  Do they have “Google style” offices and perks such as top chefs, I wonder?

I cannot find much corporate information on the site but it says that Geoff Iddison, the former European CEO of PayPal, joined the company as CEO in October 2007   Was this there “Ed Schmidt moment” but without the back-up of the Google VCs?  There is an interesting interview with Geoff by Matt Martin.  Pity it is not a video interview as they use on the Huffington Post or Huffpo as Fred Wilson calls it. Do I need to buy and use an HD video camera?

No details on funding and I guess that they were funded by themselves from the income generated by the earlier games.  In which case why do the brothers “only” own 52% of the business? Were there any VCs or angels investors?  Did they use a business plan resource or did they just put in the “sweat” hours?

I hope that someone can persuade them to talk in the Cambridge Cluster soon.  But as I have said before, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the “talkers” and the “doers”.  Zemanta does not find much on Jagex so here is a picture of the heart of Cambridge which was covered in binary numbers last night.  It is about time we had a science and technology museum at the heart of Cambridge.

Somewhere on a dusty shelf in Cambridge is the tube JJ Thompson used to “see” electrons – really the first TV.  How many people know that Cambridge Cluster companies ARM and CSR power most mobile phones?  If the Gower brothers sell up and cannot find a college which needs a donation and a new name, how about The Gower Science and Technology Museum in a new wing of the Fitzwilliam Museum?


Much more detail on the comments and thanks for the help.  Why did the Gowers go to New York for funding when we have Amadeus in Cambridge and Index Ventures in London?  Geneva Technology also went to New York for funding and let us hope that Jagex does as well for the Cambridge Cluster and all who work here.

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From TechCrunch50 to Crunch50!

Image representing TechCrunch as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBase, source unknown We have been chewing over the list of companies at TechCrunch50 and I picked up this comment:

“I had a look around, and I might have missed something here.  I’ve just looked through the first 8 companies profiled (evidently the rest will become available as the conference proceeds), and don’t see a single one solving what I consider to be a “real” problem.  They’re all targeting the leisure / chatter industry in one way or another (with the possible exception of Shryk, which seems to be teaching kids finance with the tenuous possibility of signing them up to one bank or another).

Looking through the session lists, I don’t think I can spot a single medical device, any sort of cleantech, no big industrial problem solvers, or a single pharmaco.  I appreciate that TechCrunch is all about “web technologies”, but all of these areas solve “real” problems, and increasingly do so by using the web as a critical aspect (comparing data to everyone else in a massive online database to infer health issues, or by intelligently load-switching in the cleantech sector, or by improving outsourcing capability between manufacturing partners over huge geographic and social distance, or dramatically lowering the costs of clinical trials by connecting first-world researchers to the third-world hospitals where the trials are done etc).  However, the web/mobile is not the _only_ aspect!

In case the TechCrunch50 haven’t noticed, we’re heading directly into a recession.  Pretty much the first thing to get cut by consumers will be anything that charges for leisure, idle chatter, and so on.  The first thing to get cut by companies will be discretionary adspend on unproven advertising platforms.  I predict the Crunch50 ;)”

Perhaps it is time for Silicon Valley to remember; “It’s the technology, stupid!”.

Ps. A pity that the webcast was not recorded as the quality of the speakers was high.  The panels and their comments were of the best – we could only dream of having so many people of such quality in Cambridge.  Of course, so much was VC driven – normal service in SV and we just needed to hear more about how they used Equity Fingerprint in their business plans.

Comment to save you clicking and thanks for the correction:

tom summit wrote
at 12:16 pm – 10th September 2008 Permalink Edit

I think you may be confusing Demo and TC50. Demo costs $ 18K. TC50 does not cost to present.

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