Zynga Inc Co-founder Now Heading A Weed Startup

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) co-founder Tom Bollich, who left Zynga in 2009, has joined another potentially lucrative enterprise named Surna, which is a Colorado-based firm that sells chilling systems and other equipment used for the purpose of growing commercial marijuana. In an interview with CNN Money, Bollich talked about the pot business and how he sees some similarity between Zynga and Surna.

Similarities between Zynga, Surna

“I enjoy new industries. You’re able to come in, help shape it and set the groundwork before a lot of the major players come in,” said Bollich.

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Bollich, who is the chief executive officer at Surana, is known for turning FarmVille into a sensation. Growing marijuana seems to be a very different from running a gaming company. However, while talking to CNN Money, Bollich noted that there are some similarities.

During the interview, Bollich said that Zynga was the company built on else’s platform such as Facebook and MySpace, in the same way, this new company is also dependent at the mercy of politician and voters.

The state in which Surna is located is referred to as the “Silicon Valley of Weed” from the time since the sales of legalized recreational marijuana began earlier this year. Tom cautions investors that publicly traded marijuana companies could be risky bets despite the legalization movement for weed gaining momentum. Referring to them as penny stocks, he said that they trade in thinly-regulated and highly speculative over-the-counter markets. Giving an example, he said Surna’s stock is now worth 37 cents a share compared to $6 in April.

Looking for acquisitions

Bollich said in the interview that his company is “actively” seeking acquisitions. He highlighted that Surna specializes in producing water–chilled cooling systems that are used by cannabis growers. He added that the company, also, aims to provide better percentage of commercial growers’ build-out costs by venturing into more areas like feeding systems or data.

Utilizing his programmer skills, the Zynga co-founder plans create a software system that integrates marijuana growers systems, helping them to track their operations from a smartphone.

Mark Pincus, another co-founder of Zynga, is also leading a start-up Superlabs, which is a combination incubator-startup factory in San Francisco. Pincus stepped down from the post of CEO in April.