Mark Pincus, the founder of Zynga who stepped down as its CEO amid troubles at the online gaming company, has started a new endeavor that is a little bit incubator, a little bit startup factory and a lot the new ideas of Mark Pincus.
“I don’t want to call it an incubator exactly,” said Pincus in an interview about Superlabs, the new San Francisco outfit he is funding with his own money to work on a variety of digital concepts he has been mulling over since leaving behind his day-to-day role at Zynga.
Perhaps a Pincubator, I offer. “You are not going to call it that,” laughed Pincus. (Um, yes, I am!)
Whatever the moniker, his effort has echoes of a lot of others by high-profile Silicon Valley entrepreneurs after they have moved on from the thing that made them famous in the first place and now want to create places to bring their latest notions to life.
Paypal co-founder Max Levchin and his HVF (it stands for Hard Valuable Fun), which he founded in 2011, after leaving Google, as an “umbrella project for all of Max Levchin’s data-focused undertakings,” including Affirm and Glow.
StumbleUpon and Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, who formed Expa as a “startup studio,” raising $50 million to create new companies. He recently launched a digital reservation service Reserve for top-level restaurants out of the incubator.
At Superlabs, after a pricey round with more high-level engineers for hire, Pincus has hired a handful of young techies to work on two ideas he has come up with that he is not disclosing as yet. He is using his own money — not a substantive amount — to fund the effort, although said he would start to bring in venture firms to look at the startups soon enough.
Interestingly, Pincus said he preferred to work with VCs eventually, over angel investors. In addition, he noted that he may move out of areas that he has worked on in the recent past, which have largely centered on the consumer Internet.
Before Zynga, Pincus founded three other companies: Freeloader, a push-technology service; early social network Tribe.net; and Support.com, a service and support automation company.
But he is best known for Zynga, which rocketed to fame on the massive growth of its social games like FarmVille, which became hugely popular on Facebook. It went public in the end of 2011 at a $7 billion valuation, which was much lower than had been expected. Still, that was better than its current market cap of just over $2 billion.
After criticism of his leadership by investors and much pressure from Wall Street, Pincus gave up his CEO spot to former Microsoft exec Don Mattrick in July of 2013 (“I basically fired myself,” he said). Less than a year later, he also unloaded his chief product officer role and is currently chairman of the board at Zynga, which he said takes up some time weekly.
But most of his attention has been on Superlabs, where he seems determined to create the next big thing, a hope of serial entrepreneurs everywhere.
“I really think the opportunity is still out there now that mobile has so disrupted the market and left a lot of areas to be innovated,” said Pincus, reflecting on all the change that has come over the last decade. “It’s a great time to be making things.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.