When Brad Dwyer created Hatchlings in 2008, he was a college sophomore who viewed the game as little more than an entertaining way to pass a weekend in the dorms. “At the time,” Dwyer said, “I just thought it was going to be another fun project that I did.”
Far from it. Hatchlings, a game in which users hunt for virtual Easter eggs, was profitable after one day. It went from 0 to 50,000 users in no time and would eventually hit 1,000,000 active users and 200 million page views in a single month.
It wasn’t long before Dwyer had accomplished his two biggest childhood goals — “to never have a real job” and make $1 million by the time he turned 21. So he set off to travel the world and, as he says, put Hatchlings on “autopilot.”
“It was still making money,” he said, “but not growing at any considerable rate.”
Then Zynga happened. And the immense success of that social gaming company gave Dwyer pause.
“That really kind of made me wake up and smell the roses and say, ‘Well what did they do different? Could we have gotten this big and become a multi-billion dollar company had I made some different decisions?’ ” Dwyer said. “And the answer was, yeah, I think we had a shot at that.”
He’s taking that shot with Hatchlings 2. Dwyer has built a team around him and has a clear mission in mind for the revamped version of his game. Hatchlings seeks to bring strangers together through games, which he said differentiates his company from the likes of Facebook or Zynga.
“More than just building an Easter egg hunt,” he said, “I think we have a real opportunity to connect people together.”
Dwyer discussed that new mission and Hatchlings’ recent efforts in pursuit of it — plus the path that brought him and the company to this point — at last month’s Business Insights and Networking Luncheon Series. Hosted by the Business Innovation Zone (BIZ) in Des Moines, the monthly luncheon features speakers from the Des Moines community who have expertise in areas that are applicable to people building high-growth and scalable businesses.
For Dwyer’s talk in its entirety, see the video above. For another recap of the talk, see the BIZ website. For more information on the Business Insights and Networking Luncheon Series, including archives of video and slides from past presentations, visit bizci.org.
Credits: Video from bizci.org.