Mark Pincus is a pioneer of social games and helped establish gaming as a mass-market activity. He is best known as the founder of Zynga, a mobile social gaming company. Launched in 2007, it took the company only four years to go public with a $1 billion IPO. On his way to Zynga, Pincus started three other companies. He founded tribe.net, one of the earliest online social networks; Support.com, a provider of help desk service and support automation software; and FreeLoader, Inc., a web-based, push technology news company. In addition to his work as an entrepreneur, Pincus is also an active angel investor in technology startups. He made founding investments in Napster, Twitter, and Facebook. These days he regularly lectures to aspiring tech workers at colleges and universities, and co-created the Stanford Graduate School of Business course on Product Management. Pincus was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Board of the Presidio Trust, a federal agency that operates the Presidio as part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area. In 2018 he founded investment firm Reinvent Capital. Currently he serves on the boards of directors of Reinvent Technology Partners Y and Reinvent Technology Partners Z, special purpose acquisition companies affiliated with Reinvent Capital. Pincus was named CEO of the Year in 2009 at The Crunchies Technology Awards and a year later was named Founder of the Year at the 2010 ceremony.
Like many of today's entrepreneurial stars, Pincus is the product of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In a 2012 email to the Daily Pennsylvanian, Pincus lavished his alma mater with praise for giving him "an amazing foundation," where he learned to combine an intense work ethic with a sense of fun and play. In 1988 he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.
Pincus has remained an invaluable member of the UPenn community, often returning to his old stomping grounds for one reason or another. In 2015 Pincus was back on campus to deliver a leadership lecture that was co-sponsored with Wharton Customer Analytics. The lecture was titled "Experiment, Refine, Repeat" and had over 200 UPenn students in attendance. Previously, his alma mater honored Pincus with the Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Achievement Award. Each year winners are chosen by the Venture Lab Advisory Board, which recognizes excellence in the Wharton and University of Pennsylvania startup community. As the 2014 recipient of the award, Pincus has solidified his place amongst Wharton's greatest names in enterprising commerce.