As a kid, Sam Jones excelled at Defender on his Atari 5200. Every other weekend, he'd bond over video games with Joe Perez, his friend since the second grade. Now that they're both 29, not much has changed for the co-founders of zupit.com Inc., the San Francisco-based Internet destination for the gaming world.
According to Jones, playing on the job causes zero guilt. "It's an absolute ball," he says. "We're at the forefront with the technologies we're building. And, gosh, I get to play video games!"
I2e2 (a standards organization for professional gamers, now a subsidiary of zupit.com) started last September with about $2 million in venture capital. Both companies create technologies for interactive entertainment, including content and digital distribution portals. They also produce leagues, tournaments and and events-driven communities that gamers can enter.
Having already sanctioned tournaments in France and Korea, Jones and Perez (who founded the Professional Gamers League- division of what's now pogo.com) plan to continue international expansion. And since designing zupit.com as the "complete community for computer game enthusiasts," featuring a digital marketplace with the hottest software, the overall picture has gotten that much brighter.
Sales are expected to reach $3 million this year. And with even cell phones capable of video-game action, expect these guys to be busy in the coming years.