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Chief Executive Officer
Wm. Leonard & Co. helped ISS several times, and they have maintained a relationship with me over the years. They were there to help us when we started Kaneva, and they have already represented us through three moves in just four years.
Kaneva is a 3D virtual world that combines the social networking appeal of sites like MySpace or Facebook with action and vivid colors like those of Xbox or PlayStation and media sharing like YouTube.
Chris Klaus founded Internet Security Systems (ISS) in 1993, while he was a student at Georgia Tech. Thirteen years later he sold the firm to IBM for $1.3 billion. Four years ago he founded Kaneva to create a 3D virtual world unlike any other. It's already attracted more than one million members who create avatars that explore the 3D world and socialize with others.
"My vision for Kaneva, the Latin word for canvas, is creating a platform or canvas, in effect for digital interactive entertainment, where millions of people will be able to go to meet others and have fun," Klaus explains.
In creating Kaneva, Klaus recalled his childhood passion for computers and video games. "I realized very early on that playing games with other people was a lot more fun than just playing against a computer," he says.
"We got a great team, we're excited about what we're doing, and we're doubling every year," Klaus reports. "People get passionate about what we're building. They love what we've done, and they give us great feedback, so we have a lot of incentive to do more. There's a great symbiotic relationship between us, the world builders-and our inhabitants."
"We were heads down building out our studio last year, and building more engineering capability. Those are our two biggest components, but we also have finance, marketing, IT, and other departments," Klaus notes. "Our growth is on target, or maybe a little faster. We're exceeding our projections."
Wm. Leonard & Co. has a long history with Klaus dating back to the early days of ISS. When Klaus started Kaneva he contacted Wm. Leonard & Co. to locate Kaneva's first office. Another Wm. Leonard & Co. client had recently acquired and relocated a company, which made space available for sublease. Kaneva was able to occupy the space fully furnished on a short term sublease at a sub-market rate—a win-win for both companies.
When Kaneva needed to relocate to larger facilities, Wm. Leonard & Co. was there to assist. Kaneva outgrew its space halfway through the lease term and Wm. Leonard & Co. was engaged to locate new space and find a subtenant for its existing space.
"Wm. Leonard & Co. asked the right questions, about the employees we had, how many we expected to add, over what time frame, and about our needs for technology, and the culture of the company," Klaus recalls.
"We knew we needed to find the space that would best accommodate a young, growing, start-up with collaborative origins," Klaus continues. "We determined where everyone was located. There are many high tech companies based in the area. We like working in small teams, and the office layout lets us do that. It's appropriate for engineers. Then, on the studio side, our artists need more space. They have more of a studio style configuration."
Wm. Leonard & Co. helped Kaneva locate space that met its requirements, and then took the lead in the negotiations. "We considered a number of options and were able to find a great deal, again at a sub-market rate with room to grow for the future," Klaus says. We occupy an entire floor in a complex that is likely to have space to accommodate us as we continue to grow. But when that time comes, we'll definitely call Wm. Leonard & Co. again."
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