The business on...David Rose, Founder, We R Interactive

Sunday 23 October 2011 03:21

What's that?

It's the British rival to Zynga, the company that makes FarmVille, the game that is so popular with Facebook users.

Is there any money in that?

Zynga had sales of more than $800m (£493m) last year, so yes. And Mr Rose's backers include some well-known names who see the company's potential. They include Fru Hazlitt, the television executive, Eric Fellner, of Working Title Films, and Peter Mead, the advertising agency. And yesterday We R Interactive announced that Elio Leoni-Sceti, theformer boss of EMI, is investing in the company, too. So is Paul Fitzsimons, who used to look after media investments for the private-equity firm Apax.

So who is David Rose?

He's a former games-industryexecutive. He joined Sony on leaving university, just before it launched the PlayStation. Later on, he moved to Eidos where he was responsible for developing games such as the hugely popular Championship Manager.

He sounds like a bit of a nerd.

It's true that he knows how toprogramme but he seems to have pretty sound commercial sense, too. At Eidos he worked on successful licensing deals such as Lego Star Wars. He's also been running his own businesses for the past five years.

Has We R Interactive done anything yet?

It's launched I AM PLAYR, a football game that you can play on Facebook or on its own site. The game is free, but the company makes money by charging players for extras – like kit downloads, for example. It also sells product-placement spots. Companies including Nike, Red Bull and Ginsters (you know, the pasties people) have signed up already.

Is the game any good?

That's subjective, of course, but the technology is impressive, combining video content with graphical stuff.

But Mr Rose isn't a one-trick pony?

Let's hope not. The company is promising new games with music and fashion themes soon.

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