Howdy. It's been a longer-than-usual gap since the last time I'd posted. Sorry 'bout that. Things have been busy, which is good! One of the things that's been really interesting about Wonderspark is that this is the first startup where I've had to be concerned with "setting up the business". Last time around, we had a really unusual set of circumstances, and I didn't have to think at all about the legal, HR or finance side of things, and could focus 100% on making the best games possible, and the best team possible within the confines of our parent company.
With Wonderspark, we're learning all the stuff. What kind of corporation should we be setting up? How do we "take on" investment? What do we give up in return? If we'd decided to go the standard venture capital route, all of this would be really boilerplate stuff. And we almost went that route almost by accident because it was easy - but it would have essentially forced us down a path we really, really don't want to go down. We have no intention of ever selling Wonderspark. We don't believe that growing fast in order to sell quickly is the right way to succeed on the App Store (or in games in general). That's now how we want to build a company, and it doesn't fit with why we're trying to build it.
So finding folks who'd be interested in investing in Wonderspark has been an interesting process. It's a matter of finding people who philosophically align with us, and believe the things we believe, and we've been fortunate enough to find some folks who've committed (verbally, at least - nothing's "real" until it's in the bank) to help get us off the ground. Instead of paying them back through a sale, we're essentially going to be aggressively profit-sharing with them. From our perspective, if we get to a point where we're doing well, we should all - investors, employees, and us - all do well. For us, one really big reason not to raise a bunch of $$ at the start & go the traditional VC route is simply that it lets the team retain more ownership. And we're honestly not concerned about us, as founders, retaining ownership as much as making sure that we, as a team, can share as much as possible in whatever success we can achieve.
I know this sounds silly, because it's the kind of thing that people can say & not really mean - but we're not in this for the money. If we can get to a point where we're sustainable, that's awesome. It is a HUGE goal to be able to repay our investors with a significant multiple, because my hope is that we can repay their faith in us with a giant pile of cash. That's definitely part of the equation. :D And for our employees, I've worked at too many companies where we all look at the revenue numbers & realize that we're making someone else VERY, VERY wealthy and we, as the team that slaved day and night on it for ages, were making next to nothing. That's not what this is about. Not at all. And look - I know. Easy to say. The only thing that matters is what you actually do, but I know that I've got history to prove it.
So when it comes to doing it, the thing is, doing it right pervades everything. Wanting to build out the team carefully, to cultivate users, to develop small & grow only as you see signs it's worth growing - all those things, weirdly, start with how you get funding & structure the company. Bring on VCs and your trajectory now has to look different. You operate under different pressures. You are forced, either explicitly or implicitly, to do things to conform to a particular path & set of expectations. So for us, raising money from people who understand that we've got among the most experience in the world how to build a long-lasting, successful game on iOS was critical. People who understood what our values are and what we want out of building a company, and think those things are part of being successful, not something you do in addition to aiming for success.
That's why it's taken us so long to get funding. To get incorporated. To make this all an official thing. It's a process that can take, literally, a few hours. But while we're normally fans of "move fast & break stuff," we're also not fans of doing things we know are not what we want. This was one place where it meant a lot for us to get it right - or as close to right as we can - the first time. Because a company, in the end, is a reflection of the values of the people who are building it. We want our company to be a reflection of us. Of our investors. Of our employees. And for its values to permeate everything we do.
Right from the start.