‘At the heart of Cranium’s culture and values are consumer sensitivity and operational excellence. Our quest for an investment partner that celebrated those values led us to Maveron.’

—RICHARD TAIT, CO-FOUNDER & GRAND POO BAH (former)

Cranium reinvented the board-game category in 1998 with the promise to bring families together rather than just determine “winners.” It became the fastest-selling independent board game in history—translated into 10 languages—and was celebrated in a New York Times Magazine PHENOMENON feature. We discovered co-founder Richard Tait serendipitously—when he and Maveron partner Dan Levitan found themselves climbing Mount Kilimanjaro together on a trip sponsored by CARE. Dan was struck by Richard’s entrepreneurial values, which became known as CHIFF—“Clever, High-Quality, Innovative, Friendly and Fun,” the company mantra. Dan and Richard stayed close and Dan’s help proved pivotal: After the company missed Toy Fair, Dan hooked Richard up with Starbucks, which was looking for a game that tied into its coffee culture. Now Cranium had an alternative distribution channel.

Eventually, Maveron led an early round of financing. Demonstrating its triumph in both business and the larger zeitgeist, Cranium Inc. in 2008 was acquired by Hasbro in 2008.