Robert Wallace and Rhys Dekle met while negotiating a deal against each other at Microsoft in 2004. Bob was already running Strategic Alternatives as the sole Partner. Rhys was negotiating for Microsoft Studio's business development team. They had only 24 hours to draft and finalize a long form publishing agreement for an MMO and only took a break to eat steak and drink a scotch. They negotiated all through the night with Bob constantly standing in front of a white board vigorously defending his points. In the end, the deal got done and the two went on to become friends. They found that they shared similar values and aspirations for the industry. They both had an appreciation and love for strategy and providing advice to game developers and believed that small companies in the industry needed greater access to professional services to put them on a level playing field against larger companies with deeper pockets.
Strategic Alternatives has been dedicated to the video game industry since 1994. Since then, we've facilitated many deals, investments and exits for our portfolio clients. Some clients have exited multiple times through our service.
Bob is the Managing Partner of Strategic Alternatives LLC. After retiring successfully from Silicon Valley high-tech in the 1980's, he began consulting to the portfolio companies of VC Firms through his sole proprietorship, Strategic Alternatives. In 1996, Bob took on his first video game developer as a client, Ensemble Studios which would go on to make the storied Age of Empires franchise for Microsoft. Bob ended up selling all of his consulting hours to Ensemble and acted as their Chief Strategy Officer until enabling the sale of Ensemble to Microsoft. After that Strategic Alternatives began working with numerous clients in a manner that resembles its present advisory business. Prior to creating the Firm, Bob was President of Imagen Corporation, the 1st low-cost laser printer maker. Imagen was based on talent and technology spun-out of Stanford Computer Sciences Department. The technology was Stanford-owned, exclusively-patented image-processing technology which ran on the SUN-board. Bob grew the company to $30M run rate on only $100K of invested capital. They ultimately sold the company after 5 years to QMS (a publicly traded company).
Activities & Affiliations
Member of AIAS, IGDA and Advisor Emeritus of GDC Europe (Cologne)
Rhys is a Partner of the Firm based in Seattle, Washington. He joined Strategic Alternatives in 2015. Previously, Rhys was a senior executive running business development for Microsoft Game Studios for 11 years. He led their global content search for the launch of Xbox One, HoloLens, and Kinect. He ran business development for the Gears of War franchise with Epic Games and managed a team that found and negotiated deals around the world for both retail and digital games with budgets large and small. His scope included management of the Xbox licensing team (licensing brands in and out), eSports business development team and the Outsourcing and Middleware teams. He has been involved in numerous developer and IP acquisition investigations for Microsoft and was the business development lead in several acquisitions including the Gears of War IP from Epic Games in 2014.
Before Microsoft, he ran a large retail game business with P&L responsibility for Hollywood Entertainment, a Fortune 500 company. Additionally, for three and a half years he was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company (Engagement Manager) and Goldman Sachs (Associate). Rhys earned his CM&AA designation and is the Game industry’s only Certified M&A Advisor through the Association of Merger & Acquisition Advisors.
THE WHARTON SCHOOL
M.B.A. Finance, 1999
Activities & Affiliations
• Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor (Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors®)
• Member of AIAS, IGDA, and the AM&AA
• Author of Tips for Game Dev CEOs blog series
• Chairman Seattle Alumni Regional Steering Committee, Phillips Academy Andover
“Strategy without process is little more than a wish list.”
— ROBERT FILEK