Chief Executive Officer and President; Director and chairman of the Board
Steven Grossman, age 70, has been a successful communications industry executive for over 30 years, with management experience in entertainment marketing, recording, motion pictures, television, and video games. He has financed, owned and operated communications-related companies in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
From 1975-1980, Mr. Grossman was the President of the French record company Disques Parapluie which set sales milestones with the #1, #3 and #5 bestselling albums of the year in conjunction with CBS Records.
In 1986, Mr. Grossman invested in EMCI, New York, a leading entertainment marketing company, Mr. Grossman guided the company from a music sponsorship organization that represented Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and other major artists, to a full- service entertainment marketing company. Under Mr. Grossman’s direction, EMCI’s clients grew to include Pepsi, Nintendo, Frito-Lay, Nabisco, Fox, Reebok, Pizza Hut, Philip Morris, Electronic Arts and Labatts. Mr. Grossman engineered over $45 million in sponsorship agreements between Nintendo and PepsiCo, Reebok, Nestle and Nabisco.
Mr. Grossman was the Executive Producer of the Nintendo World Championships, the visionary precursor to Twitch and eSports.
Mr. Grossman has operated XS Games, ePartners and Planet Entertainment LLC., video game and software utility publishers of Defender Pro Anti-Virus sold at Walmart and Target, Identity Armor an Identity Theft monitoring service, plus a series of Bass Pro Shops/Cabelas video games with sales in excess of $75 million.
Mr. Grossman has been an Advisor to Vivendi Universal, Midway, Warner Bros. and other Entertainment Companies.
Executive Vice President; Director
David Rosenbaum, age 66, has been appointed executive vice president of sales and marketing of Planet Digital Partners since its inception in 2018. He has served as president of The 1441 Group, LLC and ZAGS, LLC since 2013. The 1441 Group, LLC is a business development and sales company focused on development sales and marketing for toy, video games, CE, sporting goods, and other consumable products in the U.S. ZAGS, LLC is a distribution sales company focused on opportunistic general merchandise sales with key U.S. retail accounts throughout the U.S.
Mr. Rosenbaum is currently active in the sales growth and market share of The 1441 Group’s lines of representation of toys, video games, and other general merchandise products. Mr. Rosenbaum manages over ten manufacturers of products to all U.S. retailers. His leadership managers a team of twelve sales people strategically placed across the U.S. territory who service all U.S. chain retail accounts.
With a retail career that began in 1975 working as a salesman for Elmex Toy Distributors, Mr. Rosenbaum has carved a legacy of sales excellence for four decades. After a successful campaign with Elmex, Mr. Rosenbaum spent 1983-89 as President of Associated Independent Distributors, building the company from $900,000 to $53 million in the toy industry.
Considered one of the pioneers of the video game industry, Mr. Rosenbaum is credited with founding Jack of All Games, Inc. in 1989. Jack of All Games grew into the largest video game distribution company in North America, with sales exceeding $450 million and landing on the Inc. 500 list in 1997.
After selling Jack of All Games to Take Two Interactive in 2004, Mr. Rosenbaum enjoyed the new challenge of building Zoo Interactive from a start-up in 2006 to a $60-million video game publisher in a span of under 5 years. Mr. Rosenbaum synergizes a wealth of experience at the highest levels of manufacturing, distribution, finance, and marketing with his passion for building retail businesses. Together, this winning blend brings a unique and invaluable perspective to the partners of The 1441 Group. A 1974 graduate of the University of Cincinnati and former scholarship baseball pitcher at UC and the University of Toledo, Mr. Rosenbaum is a lifelong baseball aficionado and still brings the competitive fire from his athletic career to The 1441 Group every day.
Mr. Rosenbaum brings our board his considerable experience in strategic planning and growth of video games and toys, which qualifies him to serve as a VP of our company.
Secretary, Treasurer and Executive Vice President
Michael Stiegelmeyer, age 42, was appointed Executive Vice President of Finance and Operations for Planet Digital Partners at its inception in 2018. Since 2013, Mr. Stiegelmeyer has served as CEO of The 1441 Group, LLC and ZAGS, LLC. The 1441 Group, LLC is a business development and sales company focused on development sales and marketing for toy, video games, CE, sporting goods, and other consumable products in the U.S. ZAGS, LLC is a distribution sales company focused on opportunistic general merchandise sales with key U.S. retail accounts throughout the U.S.
Mr. Stiegelmeyer currently oversees all financial, operational, and acquisition aspects of The 1441 Group, LLC and ZAGS, LLC business interests in U.S. and international retail. Mr. Stiegelmeyer oversees the coordination of product development and logistics for all The 1441 Group’s product partners and the proprietary product of ZAGS, LLC. He also manages the funding, production, and distribution of all of the companies’ video game projects in North America.
Bringing fiscal oversight and operational coordination are the key elements Mr. Stiegelmeyer brings to his current role as a board member at Planet Digital Partners. He gathers together finance, logistics, products, and partners, creating new possibilities for collaboration in retail, distribution, and specialty channels.
Prior to The 1441 Group/ZAGS, Mr. Stiegelmeyer was VP Retail Sales at Solutions 2 Go, where his successes included developing over $50 million in new annual net revenue in video game distribution channels and launching non-traditional and cross-brand programs with partners such as Sony, Activision, and LEGO.
Prior to Solutions 2 Go, Mr. Stiegelmeyer gained a wealth of sales and retail experience at Jack of All Games (a Division of Synnex Corp.) where he succeeded in the roles of SVP/Sales Director, overseeing an annual portfolio of over $300 million in video game revenue and delivering profitability to shareholders from his division.
Director; Member of the Advisory Board
Kelly Sumner, age 57 is chairman of two interactive games and technology companies, Quick Feet and Mediatonic. He is also Director of CRM software provider, Tpoint solutions and a Director of MEEM Memory Ltd. Before setting up MEEM, Kelly was CEO of RedOctane, the games publisher of the world famous ‘Guitar Hero’. Within two years of joining RedOctane, Mr. Sumner oversaw the development of one of the biggest games of the decade before ultimately selling the company in 2006 for $155 million. Before RedOctane, Mr. Sumner was chairman of Intent Media, publisher of Music Week, MCV and Development magazines, until it was sold to Newbay in 2012.
Prior to the above roles, Mr. Sumner was CEO at U.S. games publisher Gametek Inc., initially joining as Marketing Director of international operations before becoming CEO. Following the partial sale of the company to Take-Two Interactive, Mr. Sumner ran the international operations for the publisher of ‘Grand Theft Auto’ before being promoted to CEO. Mr. Sumner left Take-Two after helping the company increase its revenue from virtually nothing to almost $1 billion. As CEO, Mr. Sumner saw a quadrupling in the company’s share price.
Mr. Sumner began his career at Commodore UK, the UK subsidiary of Commodore International, joining as a trainee electronics engineer after leaving home at 16. Over 12 years, he worked his way up to becoming Marketing Director via various positions in sales and marketing.
Mr. Sumner currently resides in Weybridge, Surrey with his wife and two daughters after stints in Miami and New York. In 1992, Kelly won a Golden Joystick on Channel 4’s GamesMaster for completing a challenge Tokenizing The Humans on the now much-revered Amiga.
Member of the Advisory Board
Patrick Baron, age 35 is the CEO of Blockchain Consulting Group based in San Francisco where he advises start-ups, large enterprises, and policy makers. He was previously President of Ambisafe and Orderbook.io, a leading blockchain software company and decentralized Ethereum token exchange, respectively. He also previously co-founded Hitfin, an Ethereum derivatives trading platform. He has served as a Consultancy Advisor to Blockchain at Berkeley, Cal's student-led blockchain organization. He has published a Blockchain 101 online course in conjunction with the FinTech School and still regularly leads educational workshops. He is a frequent public speaker delivering keynotes, moderating panels, and contributing to podcasts.
Member of the Advisory Board
Chris Deering, age 73, is best known for his role as president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. He is credited as one of the main marketers of the successful Rocket TokensStation and PlayStation2 video game consoles. These achievements earned Mr. Deering the title “Father of the PlayStation.” The PS1 was the first video game console to ship 100 million units. The PS2 remains the most sold console of all time selling around 155 million units. In 2003, Mr. Deering received the BAFTA Interactive Industry Award for his lifetime contributions to the game industry.
Mr. Deering started his career as product manager at the Gillette razor brand in the 70s. He went on to work at McKinsey & Co in New York in marketing studies before returning to Gillette as head of worldwide shaving. He then went on to head Gillette’s European marketing across all categories including toiletries and writing instruments.
Mr. Deering’s first involvement in the video game industry was his job as Vice President of International Marketing for Atari, Inc. In this time, he also served as VP International for Spinnaker Software, a Boston-based educational video game startup. Following his involvement at Atari, Mr. Deering became head of international marketing at Columbia Pictures until the company was purchased by Sony in 1989. Later on, this lead to his career as International Chief Operating Officer at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment from 1990-1995. He went on to take two other positions at Sony, serving as President of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe from 1995 to 2005 and of Sony Electronics Europe from 2003 to 2005.
After his career at Sony, Mr. Deering became a Chairman, Board Director and Director in game advertising at Codemasters Ltd., the world’s leading independent video game developer. He also worked as Director of Wayfinder Systems and Rocket TokensSpan. Since 2010, Mr. Deering has worked as a Board Member at Geomerics Ltd, European Games Group, Jetix Europe, TRC Family Entertainment Ltd, and was the Chairman of Tangentix Ltd.
Mr. Deering was also Chairman of the Edinburgh Interactive Festival for 5 years.
Member of the Advisory Board
Jeff Hilbert, age 53, is internationally recognized as one the top business executives in the game industry and was recognized in Bloomberg Business Week for his work in the gaming space. He has been involved in securing over $950,000,000 for game project-based funding and tools development.
Mr. Hilbert is credited with founding Digital Development Management, which he built into the world’s largest agency focused in the video gaming space, and which he sold in late, although remaining as a Director and active advisor.
Most recently Mr. Hilbert founded Starting Point Games to focus on increasing enterprise value of studios though capital investment, project funding and strategic relationships.
Mr. Hilbert is currently acting as an advisor and/or officer Contradiction Films, Get Wrecked, Gondola, Intrepid Studios, Leyou Technologies, NGD Games and Whitemoon Dreams.
Matthew Karch, age 47, is one of the founders of Saber Interactive. Since starting the company in 2000, Mr. Karch has been instrumental in crafting the overall creative vision for the company. He spearheaded the design efforts for Saber’s first two projects Will Rock and TimeShift and was the driving force behind the innovative game concepts and the execution of the game design. Mr. Karch has been instrumental in building Saber’s design team from 2 people to over 15 and plays an important role in the oversight of creative process.
Mr. Karch has contributed various articles to online and print media including, most recently, Deborah Todd’s book Game Design. Mr. Karch will also serve on a panel on game storytelling at GDC 2008. Before starting Saber, Mr. Karch worked as an attorney specializing in technology-specific matters. He has a juris doctor degree from the prestigious University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Karch is fluent in English and Russian.
Andrey Iones, age 44, is one of the founders of Saber Interactive. Mr. Iones has over 18 years of experience in the game development industry. He has worked on multiple game titles in varying capacities. He started in the industry by working on technology for pre-rendered graphics for major titles published by Activision and Electronic Arts. Since founding Saber in 2000, Mr. Iones has been instrumental in building the company from a 3-person team to a 300+ person company that has been able to develop industry-leading technology and to release multiple titles.
Most recently Mr. Iones spearheaded the simultaneous release of Time Shift on three SKU’s (the Xbox360, PS3 and PC). Mr. Iones has a PhD in computational geometry and is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on game technology. He has over 50 publications on computer graphics and rendering and is responsible for several major technologies currently employed in next generation development.
Mr. Iones is fluent in English, Russian and French.