The Foundation is extremely proud of Trustee Kevin Chou ’02, winner of the 2019 Alumnus of the Year award. This award recognizes a prominent alumnus/a who exemplifies the very best of Berkeley, whose professional leadership and contributions have led to extraordinary advances that benefit the greater good of society, who gives back to the community and university, and who inspires others in their careers and personal lives.
To see how Kevin has inspired so many and given back to the University, please watch our tribute video.
Kevin Chou ’02
Kevin Chou is the CEO and founder of Forte (pronounced for-tay), a blockchain startup aiming to help the next 100 million people participate in the blockchain ecosystem through games. Chou thinks blockchain holds monumental potential for nearly all types of financial transactions, particularly for digital games in which transactions represent 80 percent of global games revenue and about 2.5 billion people are engaged. Forte is backed by Andreesen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Canaan, Altos, Translink, Coinbase Ventures, and several blockchain luminaries. Forte also announced a $100 million fund to enable blockchain technology through games in partnership with Ripple in 2019.
Chou founded Generation Gaming or Gen.G, an esports enterprise bridging Asia and North America, and he currently serves as its chairman. Gen.G owns the Overwatch League esports team Seoul Dynasty as well as the Samsung Galaxy, the 2017 League of Legends esports world champions. Gen.G is funded by NEA, Canaan, Battery, Will Smith, Rob Chandra’s Avid Park, and Dennis Fong (who owns a stake in the Los Angeles Clippers).
“Alumnus of the year is an incredible lifetime honor for me. I hope to continue to live up to this honor by creating more innovative technologies with Forte and Gen.G,” Chou says.
Previously, Chou was CEO and co-founder of Kabam, a top developer of mobile games. He led the company to more than $400 million in annual revenue serving over 500 million players. He secured partnerships with leading game platforms as well as Hollywood studio giants Disney, Lionsgate, MGM, NBCUniversal, Paramount, and Warner Brothers. Kabam was profitable from 2012 until the sale of the company’s studios to Netmarble, 21st Century Fox, and Gaea, which generated nearly $1 billion in value.
Prior to founding Kabam, Chou was a venture capitalist with Canaan Partners investing in consumer internet and digital media. He graduated magna cum laude from the Haas School of Business.
He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the UC Berkeley Foundation. Chou and wife Connie Chen made the largest gift UC Berkeley has ever received from any of its alumni under the age of 40 to fund the Connie & Kevin Chou Hall at Berkeley Haas.
“Kevin Chou is the very embodiment of the independent, boot- strapping, iconoclastic Berkeley alumni in the classic mold, yet he also represents what Berkeley should and can be in the next 150 years,” says Richard Lyons, UC Berkeley professor of finance and former dean for Berkeley Haas, who nominated Chou for this year’s award.