Brad Feld

Rock Band redux? VC returns to Harmonix

April 8, 2013: 11:48 AM ET

guitar-hero-340xaA venture capitalist's new bet on an old gaming company.

FORTUNE -- Venture capitalist Brad Feld recently joined the board of Harmonix, the Boston-area gaming company best known for producing Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Dance Central. Or, from a business perspective, best known for being acquired by Viacom (VIAB) – which then got into a bitter earnout dispute with the company's co-founders and later sold it off via a giant tax write-off.

Feld actually was an early angel investor in Harmonix during the mid-1990s and helped put together its first seed round.

This time around he was asked to join the board by Harmonix co-founders Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy, but only agreed to do so if his current firm (Foundry Group) could get a small piece, per firm rules. Harmonix agreed.

So I emailed Feld to ask why he has confidence that Harmonix can pull another hit out of its hat, particularly in a world where console gaming seems to be getting eclipsed by mobile. His reply:

"Very, very few companies in the world have the kind of track record that Harmonix does of creating hit games over and over again. And it's not just the track record. I've gotten a sneak peak at their new games, and they are going to blow people away.

Mobile games get a lot of attention, deservedly, and Harmonix has some really interesting projects in the works on that front. But in the midst of all of the hype around mobile games, it's important to remember that no game on a small screen in your hand will ever replace the kind of immersive entertainment experience you can have on the big screen with big speakers in your living room. High-end games for the living room are here for good, and with the wave of new consoles on the horizon, that sector is about to get extremely exciting again."

And, just for fun, I found an old image of Feld playing Guitar Hero. For timing context, it was originally posted to a MySpace account:


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