Co-Founders Chris DeWolfe and Aber Whitcomb Depart to Start Social Platform Plai Labs
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, leading mobile entertainment company Jam City announced that co-founder, COO and President, Josh Yguado has been elevated to CEO, where he will oversee the company’s continued growth. In addition, SeungWon Lee, Chairman of the Board of Jam City and President, Global HQ of Netmarble Corporation, has been elevated to Executive Chairman of Jam City. In conjunction, the company announced that current Jam City co-founder and CEO, Chris DeWolfe, and co-founder and CTO, Aber Whitcomb, have departed to start a new social platform called Plai Labs.
As co-founders of Jam City, DeWolfe, Yguado and Whitcomb established the mobile juggernaut as one of the largest and most successful mobile entertainment companies with nearly half a billion dollars in annual company-wide revenue, profitable growth at scale, and seven top-grossing global game franchises, among many others, which have generated $4 billion in aggregate lifetime bookings and billions of installs. The company has raised more than $650M to date and, today, employs over 900 people across 10 studios in five countries.
As President and COO of Jam City, Yguado has been integral to the company’s growth, overseeing a number of its core operating functions, including studio management, marketing, product management, corporate development, M&A efforts and IP title negotiations. His experience and involvement across all aspects of the business naturally positions him to lead the company into the future as CEO, where he will focus on creating long-term growth opportunities for Jam City's current best-in-class, free-to-play mobile games, and launching a slate of blockbuster titles in 2023 and 2024.
Yguado stated, “I have so much belief in Jam City and am honored to be asked to step into the CEO role. It has been such a pleasure building this company over the past 10 years with Chris and Aber into one of the world’s leading mobile game publishers. Their vision and expertise has enabled us to create a family of games that are enjoyed by players around the world, like Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Disney Emoji Blitz, Jurassic World Alive and Cookie Jam. And the future is bright, with a strong slate of new games planned for 2023 and 2024, including DC Heroes & Villains and a mobile game based on one of the biggest entertainment brands of all time. With Plai Labs, Chris and Aber are beginning a new chapter, and once again pursuing a new opportunity at the forefront of the next major iteration of web experiences, and I’m excited to see what they accomplish.”
In late 2021, Jam City announced the addition of a new Blockchain division anchored by its first project, Champions Ascension. DeWolfe and Whitcomb are taking this division and the Champions Ascension world, and launching Plai Labs, focused on creating dynamic, unique and engaging social experiences leveraging Web3 and AI technologies. Plai Labs will capitalize on their visionary leadership in pioneering social platforms and deep expertise in digital identity, community engagement, and game mechanics to advance its development of next-generation social experiences.
Prior to founding Jam City, DeWolfe co-founded and served as CEO of MySpace, the first major social media network, which spurred social media as we know it today. Whitcomb served as the company’s co-founder and CTO. A pioneer of Web 2.0, MySpace was the largest social network and most viewed website in the world at its height. Plai Labs will be the visionary founder’s fourth start-up.
DeWolfe said, “Jam City is a remarkable company with an incredibly talented team, and I couldn’t be prouder of what Josh, Aber and I have built together. Having led the company since inception, I know that there is no one better or more committed to lead it into the future than Josh. We’re starting Plai Labs because we’re on the precipice of the next major evolution of the social web, and we have a clear vision around how to leverage new technologies like AI and Blockchain to play a leading role in shaping this exciting space. While it’s bittersweet to leave Jam City, we’re confident in launching this venture because of the company’s strong market position and growth prospects.”
Lee added, “Josh has helmed several of Jam City’s most critical business and creative functions for many years, and as CEO is well positioned to take the company to new heights. Chris will always be part of the Jam City family, and it’s been incredible to work with him over the years as the company has scaled and achieved many important milestones. His founding vision formed the strong foundation from which this company was built, and together he, Josh and Aber have created a successful and unique business.”
About Jam City
Jam City is an award-winning mobile entertainment company providing unique and deeply engaging games that appeal to a broad, global audience. The company is the creative powerhouse behind some of the highest-grossing games, generating over $4 billion in lifetime bookings. Over the years, Jam City’s games have generated many billions of downloads for hundreds of millions of players around the world. In addition to conceiving and developing the hugely popular Cookie Jam and Panda Pop franchises, the company is a partner for some of the biggest global IP holders, having developed immersive, narrative-rich mobile games around iconic entertainment brands from Universal, Disney, and Warner Bros. Games. The company’s popular RPG game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery was the #1 game in more than 40 countries at its launch and Jurassic World Alive continues to be one of the top AR games in the market. In 2021, Jam City acquired the Montreal-based leading mobile game studio Ludia, adding to its current studios and talent located in Los Angeles (HQ), Burbank, Cedar Falls, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, and, internationally in Berlin, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Toronto. For more information, please visit www.jamcity.com.
About Netmarble Corporation
Established in Korea in 2000, Netmarble Corporation is a top developer and publisher pushing the boundaries of the mobile gaming experience with highly innovative games including Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, Lineage 2: Revolution, The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross, Blade & Soul Revolution and Marvel Future Fight. As a parent company of Kabam, and a major shareholder of Jam City and HYBE (formerly Big Hit Entertainment), Netmarble strives to entertain audiences around the world with a variety of mobile games based on its powerful franchises and collaborations with IP holders worldwide. More information can be found at http://company.netmarble.com.