We are delighted to announce that Sami Lababidi has started to work part-time at Index Ventures as an Entrepreneur in Residence. Sami was absolutely pivotal in the success of Playfish but always extremely humble and generally left the promotional slots to be filled by Kristian Segerstråle and Sebastian De Halleux.
We got to know Sami during the investment process in Spring and Summer 2008. At the time Playfish was already one of the most successful gaming companies on Facebook, with titles like "Who has the Biggest Brain" rapidly growing to what at the time seemed very impressive metrics. We didn't know then that just round the corner Playfish was just about to crack the code with Pet Society. This game reached millions of users and essentially defined the social game as we know it today.
Equally pioneering however was what Sami and the technical team were doing behind the scenes to support this growth. Way back in 2007, at the very early stages of the Amazon Web Services ramp-up, Sami had taken the decision that to build a Company which could keep pace with a rapid viral growth in usage, he would have to completely re-invent the technology stack. Essentially Playfish decided to go "all-in" on the emerging cloud services platforms. The decision to exclusively use Amazon, Rightscale, Google apps, Boku and other SAAS components not only proved vital in supporting the growth when it came, but also meant that almost all development resource in the Company could be focused on building great games not managing infrastructure. This pioneering approach is now essentially the de facto standard we see in all web startups. Over the following years Sami has kindly shared his opinions on technology and internet with us particularly around cloud services which has become a key theme in our portfolio.
We learned from our experience with Thai Tran (previous EIR who we have backed at Lightbox) that technically gifted EIRs are immensely valuable both for their insights and leads. We also know that they tend to follow parabolic rather than elliptical orbits - so we look forward to working with Sami for as long as are able to hang on to him!