Building With Believer—an Ambitious New Games Company
Industry luminaries behind Riot Games’ League of Legends and Wild Rift are set to create worlds that will bring players’ previously impossible dreams to life.
Having a bold vision is important. But it’s rare to find a studio that can substantiate big ambitions with an extraordinary pedigree and a clearly articulated execution plan that extends well beyond replicating proven recipes for success.
The Believer Company (“Believer”) is just that kind of place: a global games company with developers all over the world, headquartered in Los Angeles. The studio’s leadership team includes veteran developers, producers, and visionaries responsible for seismic shifts in the video game medium— including leadership roles in the creation of League of Legends, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and Legends of Runeterra.
Partnering Up: High-MMR Matchmaking
At Lightspeed Venture Partners, we believe that the future isn’t built by dreamers, but by doers. It’s crafted by people who live on the edge of cultural trends and understand where things are heading. We also believe that building something truly outstanding is the work of many hands and minds—not one person alone. For us, the Believer team checked all these boxes.
In return, Believer was looking for a partner with authentic and inherent gaming expertise, a global and multi-stage investment platform, and a culture that puts founders first.
We are proud to lead Believer’s $55M Series A with key support from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), BITKRAFT Ventures, Riot Games, Michael Eisner’s Tornante (former CEO, Disney), Don Thompson’s Cleveland Avenue (former President and CEO, McDonald’s), Liberty Global, 1Up Ventures, Upfront Ventures, and Next Play Ventures—as well as key angels and advisors from technology, film, and music, including Kevin Scott (CTO, Microsoft), Dan & Mac Reynolds (Imagine Dragons), Christian Linke & Alex Yee (Showrunners, Arcane), Maureen Fan (CEO, 9-time Emmy award-winning Baobab Studios), and many others.
Game Vision: An Open-World Game with Original, Transmedia IP
The funding will help the studio continue building a world-class team to deliver a to-be-announced, next-generation open-world game, anchored by an original IP, stories where player choices matter, and gameplay systems that bring players together—rather than pushing them apart.
For Believer, this includes leveraging technologies that can now make the leap between the possible and previously impossible: creating exciting experiences across gaming, technology, music, film, and sports.
Striving to realize player dreams that were once wild and unattainable, they’ve worked hard to unite many of the best and bravest game creators and media experts we know. What bonds the team together is their deep love for players, and a commitment to put their audience at the center of the games they create, worlds they build, and stories they tell.
Meet The Team: An Extraordinary Founding Duo
Former Riot Games Vice President Michael Chow will serve as CEO of Believer, inspiring the team with a love for player service cultivated as Executive Producer on League of Legends: Wild Rift and Co-Founder of Words with Friends developer Newtoy. Chow is a 3-time serial entrepreneur in games (with exits to Zynga and Riot Games) and the former Chief of Staff at Zynga. Most recently, he led League of Legends into a post-PC future and served as a member of Riot’s leadership teams in R&D, League Franchise, and IP.
“Players are the best audience to serve in the world. They’re noble, smart, discerning, and infinitely inventive,” said Chow. “We hold their investments of time, skill, and hard-earned money as sacred, and we will always put their needs first at every stage of Believer’s journey. We look forward to growing our team with people as passionate as we are and we are actively seeking like-minded talent to believe with us.”
Chow is complemented by Chief Product Officer Steven Snow, a founding member of Riot Games who built the studio’s player-focused culture and executive-produced League of Legends to a meteoric rise and massive, long-term success. With over 25 years in game development, 20 of those as an executive producer, Snow brings invaluable lessons learned in building and scaling the team that shipped Riot Games’ original franchise and standout success—and a benchmark for modern video game design.
“The last few years have brought forward some very exciting technologies. In our world, where the player is the focus, our goal is to bring select technologies into the development and gameplay spaces explicitly for the betterment of our players and the games they love,” Snow said. “Bringing free-to-play to North America and Europe with League of Legends really changed the landscape of how games as a service could work. It is our privilege to have the opportunity to help shape the future responsibly. And we are excited to say ‘no f****** thanks’ to the technologies that won’t make the game more fun.”
Chow and Snow are joined by:
- CTO Landon McDowell (Microsoft, Riot Games, Linden Lab),
- CCO Jeremy Vanhoozer (Bungie, Electronic Arts),
- COO Tim Hsu (Twitter, Riot Games),
- CMO Shankar Gupta-Harrison (Riot Games, Dentsu X),
- Director of Operations Grace Park (League of Legends: Wild Rift), and
- VP of Design Jeff Jew (League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra).
Their founding motto—Credo In Ludos, or, “I believe in games”—underscores every team member’s personal commitment to making and playing games as a lifelong calling.
Your Opportunity: Join an Epic Adventure
Lightspeed has more than 15 years of experience investing in gaming, from early commitments and successes with Kongregate and Playdom, to more recent partnerships with leading game studios and adjacent platform and technology companies including Epic Games, Tripledot Studios, and Methodical Games. We’re excited to double down on our presence in Los Angeles and the gaming sector (check out our recent announcement)—and to count the Believer team among our portfolio companies.
The good news is that you can join this adventure, too! Game developers, prospective hires, and devotees of the player experience are invited to get in touch with Believer at believer.gg.