Swedish indie game studio Mojang behind the “Still in Beta” PC game success story Minecraft hit 1 Million in sales last week. Over 10 000 games being sold daily for €14.95 ($20) each, with every third registered user converted into buying customer, 55% of them from the US, are sales figures that has made VCs’ heads spin.
Mojang has now grown up to a team of seven, Markus also having recruited his former colleague Carl Manneh as the company CEO. Both Markus and Carl used to share workspace at Jalbum, Swedish startup with neat online web photo albums and high quality photo books.
When VCs start calling you, instead of the other way around, you’re probably doing something good. Congrats! Thus, I thought it would be valuable for fellow entrepreneurs to have Carl share his best advice when getting caught in the eye of the tornado. Thanks Carl!
“Although it may be tempting to go the VC path where you actually are able to pay salaries and sit in a proper office, I strongly suggest to think twice. A VC commitment comes with a lot more than just the money. For good and for bad.” (Fred Wilson agrees: “Money is never free.”)
“You will need a strategy to handle the storm, otherwise you’ll risk losing focus and momentum. You really can’t afford that. Figure out what the driving factors are for you as an entrepreneur. Set the vision and the goals for the company. If your founding team is aligned in what you want to accomplish, routines will come more naturally. As a manager you need to make sure the routines protect your start-up from unnecessary interruption. Build a shelter for your team.”
“We see it as an opportunity to build strong relationships with the world’s best venture firms. When/if we do want to raise capital for Mojang or another venture in the future, we’ll probably know who to turn to first.”
The smart investors know that, and they are now helping out by giving advice and introducing Mojang to people in their network. The first result of that is soon to be announced Mojang advisory board including both world-class entrepreneurs and investors. For Mojang, it’s heads down and keep building. It’s not interested in scaling up fast or aiming for an exit, that would simply not support its vision: Build great games and attract a global audience with a small, agile team of brilliant people that moves quicker than the wind.
Follow The Minecraft Journey
Besides from Twitter, you can keep your eye on how Minecraft is coming along on the developer blog The Word of Notch and catch up with the team adventures and new games being developed on the Minecraft’s Dev Diary at PC Gamer. Would you be in San Francisco in February, you’ll have a chance to meet the entire team at Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA) and Independent Games Festival (IGF). Minecraft has received three nominations at each awards, making it the first game ever to be both nominated for GDCA and IGF finalist in the same year. Minecraft is also nominated at Folkets Val 2011, Go give your vote!
Good luck guys, keep playing!
Great gaming Friday at Mojang HQ.
Interview with Markus Persson in Swedish: Mångmiljonär på gör det själv-spel.
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