League of Legends Tech Czar Exits to Be CEO at Gaming Startup


Mike Seavers, chief technology officer of the company behind the League of Legends video-game blockbuster, is leaving to become chief executive officer of a game-development startup.

Seavers, 43, departed Riot Games to join Los Angeles-based AppOnBoard, whose tools let developers create mobile and personal-computer games faster and without coding. The startup has helped create titles and apps played by more than 1 billion people to date. The appointment was effective July 6, AppOnBoard said.

League of Legends Tech Czar Exits to Be CEO at Gaming Startup

Seavers started looking for another job in mid-2019 because he likes working at startups, and told executives at Riot in January that he’d be leaving after more than seven years with the company. AppOnBoard has 50 employees, while Seavers supervised more than 1,000 at Riot.

Riot turned League of Legends into one of the industry’s leading titles, with franchises just like professional sport teams competing nationally before live and online audiences. But there have been challenges along the way. In recent years, the company has faced scrutiny over its “bro” culture and accusations of sexism.

“Riot is a great company, and I am really excited about their future,” said Seavers, who also served as director of engineering there.

AppOnBoard doesn’t disclose its revenue, and will likely become profitable next year, Seavers said. More than 1,000 new games go live in the Apple App Store and Google Play monthly using its tool called BuildBox, the company said. Active users on BuildBox have increased 940% since late last year.

The company’s backers include BreakawayGrowth Fund, Korea Investment Partners, MTGx, Runa Capital, Troy Capital Partners and London Venture Partners.

AppOnBoard may seek more funding, and may be open to being acquired, though it would probably be better served being independent, Seavers said. The recession has resulted in more people trying to develop games via AppOnboard’s tools, he said.

“It makes people think about what they can do for themselves and their livelihood,” Seavers said. “This is an opportunity for our community to build businesses.”

Seavers wants to improve AppOnBoard’s products and eventually expand the array of tools to let anyone to develop a game for any platform -- possibly even consoles -- without knowing any coding, he said.

“We want a world where imagination is the only skill it takes to build a video games,” he said.

With Seavers’s appointment, AppOnBoard founder Jonathan Zweig becomes the company’s president. Zweig previously founded mobile advertising network AdColony, bought by Opera in 2014.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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