Harrison joins Gardner in new VC group

Harrison joins Gardner in new VC group

By Rob Crossley

May 18th 2010 at 5:49PM

Former Atari duo form half of the indie-focused investment outfit

Phil Harrison, the eminent game exec who helped shape the PlayStation empire, has rebounded from his Atari break-up by joining London Venture Partners – a new investment group focused on funding “disruptive” game projects.

Harrison has joined the company as General Partner, uniting once again with former Atari CEO David Gardner.

Those two make up half of London Venture Partners’ founding quartet, with former EA VP David Lau-Kee and Investment Banking guru Paul Heydon completing the set.

London Venture Partners says it will look to fund “disruptive new technology in the online, social, mobile and web game space”.

If proof were needed of the group's foresight,  all have helped push ‘indie-friendly’ engine vendor Unity into its new position as a games industry technology leader.

Haydon, as managing director at Avista Partners, led both Gardner and Lau-Kee to invest in Unity’s business. Harrison himself, meanwhile, publicly endorsed the potential of the Unity platform back in 2008 when speaking at the annual Unite Conference.

Unity has since proven itself as a lucrative game platform business for all sizes of developer. During the last two years, it has become an epiphenomenon to the iPhone revolution.

London Venture Partners told Develop it is not yet ready to make a public announcement on the business.

Both Harrison and Gardner were central in a brief attempt to reinvente the Atari brand into an online-centric global publishing, development and distribution force.

They had both respectively departed senior roles at industry giants Sony and EA to take on the task. After joining the group in 2008, their plans were building momentum but were quickly dashed as Namco Bandai swooped in to acquire most of the business.

Harrison soon left his role as Atari president, while Gardner resigned as CEO soon after.