ThinkLAB Ventures Leads New Investment In Jersey Jack Pinball

Posted On: 8/7/2015

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TAGS: pinball machine, pinball news, coin-op, Jersey Jack Pinball LLC, ThinkLAB Ventures LLC, Leonard Abess, Andrew Paul, Tudor Investment Corp., Scott Flanders, Playboy Enterprises Inc., Jack Guarnieri, The Hobbit pinball

LAKEWOOD, NJ -- Jersey Jack Pinball LLC has closed on a "significant" investment deal led by ThinkLAB Ventures LLC, according to JJP founder and chief executive Jack Guarnieri. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Miami-based ThinkLAB Ventures is led by Leonard Abess, an American banker and businessman. Joining Abess's material investment in the Lakewood, NJ-based pinball machine company are Andrew Paul, managing director of Tudor Investment Corp., and Scott Flanders, chief executive of Playboy Enterprises Inc.

Abess gained national notoriety in 2008 when he sold his company, City National Bank of Florida, for $945 million and gave his staff a bonus of $60 million to share among themselves. As a result, he is a Time 100 honoree and Reader's Digest's America's Best Boss. He is also a fervent pinball machine enthusiast.

"I have been a pinball fan my entire life," Abess said. "In Jersey Jack Pinball I saw a company that has both the creative vision and technical abilities to renew and reinvigorate this industry. I have known Jack Guarnieri for many years and delighted in watching him develop the ultimate pinball game to date, The Wizard of Oz."

Guarnieri said that the new capital infusion will help JJP advance to the "next level." The company's first machine, Oz, has been sold in 16 countries. Its second pinball title, The Hobbit, will enter production this fall. JJP's third flipper model, in collaboration with famed pinball designer Pat Lawlor, is in the works for a spring 2016 launch.

"Our goal is to consistently deliver the finest games in the industry and the best game experience for our players." Guarnieri said. "This vote of confidence in me, in our team and in our products leaves no doubt that Jersey Jack Pinball will have the resources to develop and manufacture many more great games for our expanding worldwide player base for many years to come."

VIDEO: In November 2008, Abess sold his 83% share of his bank to the Caja Madrid banking group for $927 million and shared $60 million of the proceeds with 399 staff members and 72 former employees. On February 24, 2009, President Barack Obama praised Abess in his State of the Union Address and invited Abess and another bank employee to be his guest at the speech.