All Founders Stories

Mark Pincus

CEO, Cofounder at Zynga

buildd tags

Quit job to start Doesn't code

Quick stats

$1.4B Net wealth 55 Yrs Age 2007 Year of founding


1995-1997 CEO & Co-Founder, FreeLoader, Inc. 1997-2001 CEO & Co-Founder, Supportsoft 2003-2006 CEO & Co-Founder, 2008-Present Founder & Chairman, Zynga Inc.


1988 Bachelors in Finance and Technology, Wharton School 1993 MBA, Harvard Business School

Personal Information

Partner Alison Gelb (2008-2017) Children 3 Parents Donna (née Forman), Theodore Pincus

The Background

After tasting success with three startups - Freeloader Inc. SupportSoft Inc. and, Mark Pincus, a serial entrepreneur, made early investments in big names such as Facebook, Twitter, Napster, Snapchat, Paypal, and Xiaomi. Pincus always had a real passion for social media websites, making successful investments in many of them. That's not to say Pincus was cruising without any troubles, as he also made a number of failed investments - especially one in a company known as Tagsense.‍

The Spark

In 2007, Facebook had opened up their platform for other applications to join in the programming interface. As Mark Pincus used to closely follow Facebook's growth and its market capture, he knew that even if he can get a piece of the booming Facebook market, it would provide a head start for any startup to grow. Back then, Pincus had no knowledge of the gaming industry, though he liked the idea of gaming with friends. The only problem was that he could never get everyone under the same roof for gaming. Pincus thought of releasing a few social games over the Facebook network, to capitalise on the huge number of daily users that Facebook had. Adding a few quick games was a great way to bring people together and enjoy some time together online.

The Launch

On July 2007, Mark Pincus along with Eric Schiermeyer, Justin Waldron, Michael Luxton, Steve Schoettler, and Andrew Trader released the first social game – ‘Texas Hold’Em Poker‘. It was a great hit among the gaming community as well as the general public. Despite investors being more interested in gaming companies in the PC and console gaming giants, Zynga seemed to sneak its way in because of the games that they were offering - they could be played on most of the systems. Zynga IPO'd at $10 per share and began trading on NASDAQ under ZNGA on December 16, 2011.


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