Benchmark adds a new partner

The Silicon Valley venture firm, renown for backing tech startups like eBay and Second Life, has hired former Electronic Arts vice president Mitch Lasky as its eighth partner.

Benchmark Capital has hired Mitch Lasky as the eighth partner for its Menlo Park, California team.

The development means Benchmark’s existing Silicon Valley team effectively takes a pay cut, as the venture firm’s partners are equally compensated.

“If you think of it in economic terms, the new partner needs to be accretive not dilutive,” said Benchmark operating partner Steve Spurlock. “You can’t bring anyone into the group that you don’t think is going to improve” the firm’s resources and returns considerably.

Benchmark has had its eye on Lasky for quite some time, Spurlock said.

Mitch Lasky

Lasky has more than 20 years of experience in the mobile gaming, new media and interactive entertainment industries. He was previously the chief executive officer of JAMDAT Mobile, which under his direction, went from pre-revenue stage to a  2004 initial public offering, to then be sold the following year to Electronic Arts for $680 million. The firm grew from 11 people to nearly 600 employees under the guidance of Lasky, who became a vice president at Electronic Arts.

At Benchmark, Lasky will concentrate on sectors including mobile content and platforms, next-generation interactive entertainment and digital privacy and identity.

Benchmark has backed high profile startups including restaurant reservation website OpenTable, directory service TellMe, smoothie franchise Jamba Juice, solar panel maker Nanosolar, floral delivery service 1-800-Flowers, real estate website Zillow and consumer-review site Yelp.

Founded in 1995, Benchmark’s investments in tech-driven firms range from $100,000 to $15 million, though the firm typically initially invests $3 million to $5 million in a company and up to $15 million total.

“We invest for the long haul, not ’quick flips,’ and look for entrepreneurs with a similar perspective,” its website says.

In addition to its Silicon Valley team, Benchmark has nine partners based at its offices in London and Israel.