CrowdStar, one of the leading social game developers on the web and makers of Happy Aquarium, announced that they are hiring Mr. Niren Hiro, a former AdMob executive as their new CEO. Hiro joins CrowdStar as the company approaches 50 million monthly active users and enters into the Japanese market. CrowdStar has been growing steadily and seems to almost be considered a rival to the Big 3. It certainly would be the next biggest gaming contender.
Hiro has 20 years of international experience at top Internet, mobile and media companies including Yahoo!, CBS Sportsline, MTV Networks, Plus Channel, and BPL Mobile. Prior to CrowdStar, Hiro joined AdMob in 2006 as Vice President of Worldwide Business Development, and built and led the team responsible for AdMob’s strategic partnerships and traffic acquisition in North America and worldwide, as well as the company’s business expansion into Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Africa. Hiro has deep entrepreneurial roots. When he was 21, he founded a highly successful processed foods company in Japan, where he was born and raised, and today he is an angel investor in several promising startups. Hiro has a BS in Finance and a MBA from Boston University, has two daughters, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Niren brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience to CrowdStar from high growth media, entertainment, and mobile companies like Yahoo!, MTV and AdMob both in the U.S. and internationally,” said Peter Relan, Co-Founder of CrowdStar, who will continue in his role as Executive Chairman. “Social games, virtual goods, and micro-transactions will grow manifold in the coming years and I look forward to working with Niren as he leverages his entertainment and media background to steer CrowdStar’s network of games to even higher levels of success.”
It’s interesting that Niren is leaving AdMob at a time where Apple’s recent decisions put them in a difficult spot, and does this mean we’ll see more people leaving iPhone based ad platform companies? Also, we’ve been hearing more and more about the Japanese market, and CrowdStar touts Hiro’s international experience several times during the press release. It seems that social gaming is about to become a global battlefield.