Virtual Goods: Runaway Growth Opens New Opportunities to Monetize

Special Event from MIT/Stanford Venture Lab (VLAB) and SVASE. Sponsored by Sun Microsystems. Location is at Sun Microsystems in Santa Clara (not Stanford GSB)



Tuesday, December 8, 2009
6:00pm - 7:00pm - Networking and Refreshments
7:00pm - 8:30pm - Panel Discussion and Q/A


NOTE: Location is NOT at Stanford  
Sun Microsystems Auditorium SCA03.   Limited Capacity! 
4030 George Sellon Circle, Santa Clara, CA 95054
Click HERE for map.   

Online Registration Closed - Some tickets may be available at the door!

Online ticket sales close 5pm Monday December 7 or when Sold Out.  Sell-out is likely!  Please sign in before registering if you are already a member of VLAB

Event Description:

Virtual Goods are quickly becoming a powerful new online monetization model, with users buying gifts, swords, clothes, and other digital items to enhance their experience in social networks and games. Today the market for Virtual Goods (VG) is already $1 Billion in the United States alone, and is expected to grow 80% to $1.8B next year, according the authors of the report "Inside Virtual Goods". In Asia, the market is already seven times that of the United States, $7 Billion, per the Virtual Goods Online October 2009 report. And more amazingly, in China, VG revenues actually exceed on-line ad revenues.

  • What are the best monetization strategies?
  • Do the secondary markets enhance the value of virtual goods?
  • What is the impact of financial regulations on the secondary markets?
  • What has contributed to the rise of independent creators of virtual goods?
  • Why is Asia so far ahead of the US, and what are the implications?

Come hear bold entrepreneurs talk about their business models and the online ecosystem for Virtual Goods and find out!



Justin Smith, Founder, Inside Network

Justin Smith is the founder of Inside Network, the first and only service dedicated to providing business information and market research to the Facebook platform and social gaming ecosystem. Justin serves as Editor of Inside Facebook and Inside Social Games, and manages Inside Network's AppData and PageData services as well. Prior to Inside Network, he was formerly Head of Product at Watercooler, one of the leading application developers on the Facebook Platform. Prior to Watercooler, Justin was an early employee at Xfire, the largest social utility for gamers, which was sold to Viacom in 2006. Justin holds a degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University


Brian Balfour, Founder and VP Product Marketing, Viximo

Brian Balfour is the Founder and VP Product Marketing of Viximo which provides virtual good solutions to social networking, online dating, and casual gaming sites that enable and grow their virtual goods revenue. Prior to founding Viximo, Brian managed new product initiatives at ZoomInfo, and was founder of multiple online community startups, including the first college specific social network in early 2003. In addition, as a founding member of Betahouse, a co-working space for technology entrepreneurs, and co-founder of PopSignal, one of Boston's largest professional networking organizations, Brian is actively contributing to the growth of Boston's technology startup scene. Brian holds Bachelor's degrees in Sports Business, Economics, and Applied Statistics from the University of Michigan.

Jude Gomila, Co-Founder and President, Heyzap

Jude Gomila is co founder and President of Heyzap. Funded by Union Square Ventures and Y Combinator, Heyzap is building the largest distributed online gaming platform. Heyzap monetizes through the sale of virtual goods inside the flash games and provides monetization, social and analytics APIs to game developers. Jude was born in London, UK and attended the UK’s Cambridge University and graduated with Honors in Engineering and Management. During his final year of University he started Sugar Global, a digital photo frame brand, making sales to UK stores including Harrods, Selfridges, Amazon and Sugar products were featured in the What Hi-Fi Magazine’s Expo 2007. In 2004, Jude was awarded the Technology Partnership Award for excellence in Design while at Cambridge University and in 2005, the IBM EMEA Top Student Award. Jude Gomila also mentors at Seedcamp week in Europe and conducts interviews for

Bill Grosso, CTO and SVP Product, Live Gamer

As CTO and SVP of Product for Live Gamer, Mr. Grosso is responsible for the efforts of the technology and product teams,tailoring product offerings to customers’ needs and delivering the right solutions to Live Gamer’s global customer base. Previously, Mr. Grosso served as CTO for virtual economy platform provider Twofish, which was recently acquired by Live Gamer, where he headed the Twofish Elements product roadmap, platform development and engineering organizations. As an active participant in the software development community, Mr. Grosso has published two books and more than 20 journal articles. He also served as a long-time board member for SDForum, and has held various chief architect and executive engineering roles at companies including Engage, Echopass and Hipbone. He received his Masters of Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Owen Mahoney, CEO, Outspark

As Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Electronic Arts, Owen was responsible for worldwide mergers and acquisitions and business development, and led all acquisitions from November 2000 to January 2009. Owen also has substantial operating and deal-making experience in Asia. Prior to joining EA, he served as Vice President with consumer technology company Xenote, Inc., where he oversaw business development for domestic and international operations. Before joining Xenote, Owen served as Vice President of International at PointCast Inc. where he was responsible for setting up and running its Japanese joint venture. Owen also held a variety of management posts with other technology companies including Claris Japan, Inc, Radius Inc. and Ray Dream, Inc. (now MetaCreations) where he oversaw sales, marketing, and business development for the Asia/Pacific region. Owen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies from the University of California at Berkeley, and studied Japanese law and political science at the University of Tokyo graduate department of law. He is fluent in Japanese and lived in Japan for five years.


Online registration closed - Some tickets may be available at the door

Please sign in before registering if you are already a member of VLAB.

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