Zach Lehman

I am a Los Angeles-based business developer with a passion for games

Contact

Don’t hesitate to reach out at any time by filling out my contact form.  I check my email an unhealthy amount so expect a prompt reply!

Click the tabs on the left to learn more about how I can help you succeed

Finding a publisher can be a daunting task that requires significant endurance and an unshakable faith in your product. My goal is to save you as much time and emotional energy as possible.

  • I first dive into your goals and needs, then review which publishers would be the best fit.  We don’t waste time on publishers who have no interest or experience with projects like yours!
  • Once we define our publisher demographic, we build pitch materials that clearly define who you are as a team (or individual), what you’re making for a product, how that product has value to a publisher, and what you need from the publisher to make it all happen.
  • Once pitch materials are ready I can help connect you to those publishers.  I can coach you on what to say during pitch meetings (and how to say it), and I can lead the meetings as well.
  • Having a great pitch meeting is simply step one.  Most publishers will require several phone calls, face-to-face visits, follow-up materials and legal document reviews before a deal is signed.  I also help navigate that post-meeting communication.

Timed exclusives, market share competitions, new hardware offerings, multi-platform support...the list of opportunities can be daunting. There’s a lot more you can do than simply throwing your game on Steam and hoping the algorithms bless you.

  • We look at which platforms and regions your products are best suited.  Price, target demographic, release window, game engine, and game genre are some of the metrics we’ll use to narrow down platforms that give you the most ‘bang for your buck’.
  • Once we know which platforms to approach, we build pitch materials that clearly define who you are as a team (or individual), what you’re making for a product, and how you will add value to the distributor.
  • When all pitch materials are ready, I can help connect you to those distributors.  I can coach you on what to say during pitch meetings (and how to say it), and I can lead the meetings as well.
  • Expect to create deals that are more complex than “release on [date], pay [fee].”  It will be important for you to know how and when to present yourself to distributors to maximize potential opportunities.  Seasonal sales, competing release windows, bundle deals, new hardware platforms, and more can dramatically affect the sales of your game.

Working with outsourcing contractors can add great benefit to your product, but when mismanaged it can lead to missed deadlines and disastrous financial waste. Finding the right partners and effectively communicating your needs is critical to growth.

  • We look at your needs and discuss if outsourcing is the right move.  We make decisions on hiring internal staff (full time, part time, or contract) and/or an external team (co-development, contract).
  • Once we know what we need, we build design documents that clearly define your product needs.  Style guides, quality expectations, product comparisons, concept art, and functional tests are all part of the materials needed to gain accurate quotes.
  • When ready, I can help connect you.  I have worked with many of the world’s best outsourcing companies.  Whether you’re looking for character art, mocap animation, UI/UX art, design services, network/AI/gameplay engineering, or something else entirely, I know people who can help at all kinds of budget tiers.
  • Looking for a partner?  A specific engineer?  Don’t need a full outsourcing team?  No problem.  My network of peers includes entry level, executive/senior level, and everything in between.  Many of whom I’ve personally worked with in the past and can vouch for their quality and integrity.

From influencer representation to crowdfunding platforms, building a brand takes serious time and effort. I can help maximize returns for your time invested.

  • We evaluate your product and demographic to establish what types of marketing works best.  If you’re trying to grow your brand with influencers and media representation or you’re interested in crowdfunding – I can help.  I’ve worked on successful (‘goal exceeded’) crowdfunding campaigns with funding goals between $20K and $2M.
  • You’ll need to build a social platform that leads people to your game.  Blending the Reddits and Twitters of the world alongside your own website, Discord channel, and any distribution or crowdfunding platforms is an art form that we can perfect together.
  • I can walk you through the first steps in marketing your product, but marketing isn’t my focus area.  I will help you get started then connect you to my wide network of marketing agencies and/or individual social media experts to take your platforms to the next level.
  • Is your current marketing plan not working out, or did your crowdfunding efforts not meet their funding goal?  We can discuss ways to pivot and grow.

Investors are similar to publishers, though they need slightly different things from us. While investors often only provide financial services, they are always well connected with a network of supportive companies that can assist with many publisher-related topics.

  • Dive into which types of investors would be the best fit for your team.  It will be important to clearly define what type of investment is required and what purpose it will serve as that often dictates how further investment rounds perform.
  • Once we nail down our investment type and amount, we can build pitch materials that clearly define who you are as a team (or individual), what you’re making for a product, how you will hit ROI benchmarks, and what you need from the investor to make it all happen.
  • When ready, I can help connect you to those investors. I can coach you on what to say during pitch meetings (and how to say it), and I can lead the meetings as well.
  • Having a great pitch meeting is simply step one.  Most investors will require several phone calls, face-to-face visits, follow-up materials and legal document reviews before a deal is signed.  They will also perform their own rounds of due diligence, which often involve tapping into your own network of references.  I also help navigate that post-meeting communication.

My Story

I started in games by modding with the Neverwinter Nights toolset, Aurora Engine. I eventually graduated from total conversion mods and moved into the indie development scene, where I spent roughly 7 years working on several successful (and unsuccessful) indie games. I intimately understand teams whose investments into their products are comprised of mostly sweat equity. During my time modding and working as an indie, I also learned a lot about the business of games, which I was later able to leverage when working for and alongside larger studios. In addition to business development, I have a B.S. in computer science and have held professional roles in game design, production, and team and client management.

Check out my work history.

Zach is my go-to when I need to prep for important meetings or an external set of eyes on our business strategy. He's experienced, calm, optimistic and realistic - a fantastic combination that always leads to productive conversations.

Chris HagaCEO

Zach dedicates himself to the success of every team he works with. His extensive knowledge of the game industry and his expert communication skills allow Zach to deftly navigate game development and marketing hurdles in creative ways. His hands-on approach keeps him actively engaged in all areas of a project, from art and audio to design and engineering. Any team would be lucky to have Zach working alongside them.

Jesse StevensArtist / Illustrator

I was employed under Zach for 2.5 years. Working for him is more like working alongside him. His technical knowledge and abilities allow him to make sure every step of development is a smooth process.

Daniel MullinsGame Designer & Software Developer

I've had the pleasure of working with Zach on multiple projects, including Depth and WarmGun. His work ethic, knowledge of Game Design and, ability to construct a strong team while building morale in his workers has proven that he is a natural leader and producer by example.

Jaret IllingworthLead Level Designer, Treyarch

Zach is great, he has a great propensity to learn from both guys below him and above him. We worked on two console projects together, during both of which the guy knocked it out of the park.His energy, ability to collaborate and his vision are all great. He ships projects.

Kevin DentVideo Game Executive | CEO, Tizwaz Entertainment

Zach is clearly dialed in to the game developer community - his ability to interact with the game developers at the highest levels has opened the door for StreamTV's content portfolio. He is not afraid to voice his opinion and can back up opinions with real data.

Leo RileyVP, Sales Executive