2012 Young Alumni Achievement Award
Joel Poloney was an undergraduate working part-time at NCSA when he accepted an offer from his friend Sizhao “Zao” Yang to be a part of a new start-up company, Mocha Soft LLC (eventually renamed to MyMiniLife, Inc.).
As Zynga’s senior architect, Poloney helped build out the Shared Tech Group and worked extensively on the common game engine and platform that Zynga used to launch nearly all of its games, including FarmVille, FrontierVille, CityVille, Treasure Isle, CastleVille, and Hidden Chronicles, among others.
At the end of 2011, Poloney left Zynga to form a new startup with Illinois classmate and co-founder of MyMiniLife, Amitt Mahajan. Based in the Bay Area, Red Hot Labs builds fun mobile products. Occasionally, Poloney invests in promising seed-stage startup companies.