Lester Chen leaves YouTube; joins Andreessen Horowitz

(ESI illustration) Image credit: a16z

Lester Chen, the former Global Head of Gaming Creators for YouTube, has departed the company and joined Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) as its Partner and Gaming Creator Lead.

Chen will work with gaming founders and content creators to ‘create the future of games’, he shared via Twitter. He will also work on GAMES FUND ONE, the company’s first fund dedicated solely to gaming founders and companies.

In addition to being a partner, Chen will head a16z Games, a subdivision of the company which focuses on investments in gaming and esports.

One of these investments is GAMES FUND ONE, a new $600m gaming fund created in May 2022. Chen will work alongside the likes of Jonathan Lai (former Product Manager at Riot Games and Senior Director at Tencent) and James Gwertzman (former General Manager for Gaming at Microsoft) on the project.

Lester Chen is one of the most notable figures in YouTube’s recent push into gaming. Prior to joining YouTube, Chen worked at Machinima as Manager of Live Programming, and Director of Live Programming and Esports. Since joining YouTube in 2015, Chen held the positions of Global Head of Esports, Head of Gaming Content Partnerships for USA, and most recently spearheaded the entire Gaming Creators division as the Global Head.

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Andreessen Horowitz, known as a16z, is a VC firm situated in Silicon Valley. The company was founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, and has been investing in numerous ventures since. The company manages multiple funds and has more than $30b in assets. Some of the VC firm’s focus areas include Bio and Health, Cryptocurrency, Fintech and Gaming.

Chen commented on the news via social media: “Creator strategies shouldn’t be seen as the afterthought or the ‘launch strategy’. I believe that Creators can, and must, be brought into the fold at all stages of a game’s lifecycle. My mission is to serve as the best-in-class bridge between gaming founders and content creators.”

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.