Electronic Arts to invest in VanEdge Capital

Private Equity blog peHUB’s Alexander Haislip is reporting that Electronic Arts is poised to invest in VanEdge Capital‘s $200 million Canadian venture capital fund and that the fund expects to hold its first close on $100 million from six limited partners, including EA, later this month.

It’s also is a way for EA to have a stake in the brain drain to venture capital it’s facing. The company has lost several high-profile executives to prominent VC firms in recent years. Benchmark Capital added Mitch Lasky, a former Jamdat CEO and head of mobile gaming at EA, as a general partner in 2007. Last year, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers hired former EA executive Bing Gordon to help the firm wrap its arms around the gaming sector.

An investment in VanEdge will help EA stay on top of early stage innovations and promising startups, such as social gaming company Playfish, which it purchased late last year for $300 million and another $100 million in potential earnouts.

Vancouver’s VanEdge plans to focus on early stage digital media opportunities in North America.

peHUB also reported the that the other limited partners currently executing final diligence on VanEdge are the Export Development Bank, the Business Development Bank, the British Columbia Investment Management Corp., B.C. Renaissance Capital Fund and Nicola Investments.

VanEdge’s General Partners are former Electronic Arts employees Glenn Entis, Jason Chein, and Paul Lee.