The Roblox EC-1
Following in the wake of our deep profiles of Patreon and Niantic, we have our next EC-1 package, this time on children’s gaming platform Roblox. Extra Crunch writer Sherwood Morrison has covered gaming and startups for years, and he got an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the incredibly popular startup with interviews with many of the company’s principals. This is your weekend read.
How Roblox avoided the gaming graveyard and grew into a $2.5B company
In part one of this EC-1, Morrison looks at the origin story of Roblox, which has to be one of the most interesting I have read in some time. Founders Dave Baszucki and Erik Cassel first worked together on a physics simulation engine called Knowledge Revolution before founding Roblox in 2004 (then known as Dynablox).
Since those humble origins 15 years ago, Baszucki and his team have grown the company dramatically through a sequence of smart strategic moves that Morrison illuminates, eventually culminating in the company’s massive $150 million Series F venture capital round last year from Greylock and Tiger Global, valuing the company at a reported $2.5 billion. Roblox now has 90 million active users, tripling in just a few short years.
Digging into the Roblox growth strategy
Meanwhile, in part two of this EC-1, Morrison illuminates the challenges and opportunities facing Roblox in the years ahead as it looks to conquer a greater swath of the gaming market, or what Baszucki calls “human co-experience.”
First and foremost, Roblox has to expand internationally and capture a greater share of children’s entertainment. Then, the company wants to start to expand beyond its children’s gaming roots to reach other, older demographics. It has to do all this while also maintaining safety for its users and increasing the quality of its game engine against competitors like Unity and Unreal.
As Morrison writes:
If Roblox can continue to grow, it will serve as a guiding example for a whole new generation of companies. And if it continues to evolve, it may yet prove that human co-experience is more than a fever dream. A whole generation of companies failed to create immersive social environments — but in the space between games and chat, Roblox may yet prove that there’s a whole new social category waiting to be discovered.
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