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David Baszucki was born in Canada, he graduated from Stanford University as a General Motors Scholar in Electrical Engineering in 1985. 4 years after his graduation, David founded an educational software company called Knowledge Revolution.
The company developed Interactive Physics, an application that helped users learn Physics, it was popular among the kids. Knowledge Revolution was then acquired by MSC Software in 1998 for $20 million, David basically didn’t have to work anymore.
After a couple of jobs including hosting a radio show, David decided to start working on a new project in 2004, this was the beginning of Roblox. Inspired by the previous success of Interactive Physics, David founded DynaBlocks with Erik Cassel, the company was rebranded as Roblox in 2005.
David chose the name Roblox because it combines “robot” and “blocks”. David and Erik wrote the first version of Roblox over the course of 2 years and officially launched Roblox in 2006.
Another popular game, Minecraft was only created 5 years after Roblox was launched.
Roblox is a 3D social gaming platform which allows users to create an avatar that they can move across a library of games. The games are free to play and gamers can purchase digital currency called Robux to buy virtual goods and enhance their characters.
Roblox is more of a social platform than a game where you and your friends can pretend to be in different places.
Most importantly, Roblox Studio enables its users to develop games, even kids can learn how to make games without having to know how to code. You can make an initial Roblox experience by drag and drop, top developers have to use Lua, Roblox’s proprietary coding language.
The developer platform is an important part of Roblox’s surging popularity, developers stand to receive a 18% cut of the profits. According to Roblox, game creators range in age from 14 to 25, and top developers can earn as much as $50,000 a month.
Gus Dubetz, the co-creator of the famous zombie-apocalypse game Apocalypse Rising, paid his tuition and bought a house for $120,000. In 2017, there were a total of 2 million Roblox developers, and over 56 million monthly active players, hugely popular among the children under the age of 13.
Roblox was initially self-funded, raised a few rounds of fundings and became profitable in 2015. The company then raised $92 million in another funding round led by Meritech Capital Partners and Index Ventures in 2017.
During the pandemic in 2020, Roblox’s growth accelerated as the kids were forced to stay home and spent more time playing games. Daily active users almost doubled by September 2020 to 36.2 million, “hours engaged” more than doubled to 8.7 billion.
Revenue in the third quarter jumped 91% YoY to $242.2 million in 2020, Roblox has planned to go IPO in 2020 but was delayed to 2021.
I was attracted to this venture out of pure passion. But 10 years later, people in the industry are starting to see the potential for the ultimate size of companies in this space.
I believe companies like ours are going to be as large as media companies and social networking companies that are valued in the tens of billions of dollars.
The company’s valuation has skyrocketed from $4 billion in early 2020 to $30 billion in early 2021.
In 2015, David received the ‘San Mateo Visionary Hero Award’ for Roblox’s contributions to education and encouraging kids to code. He has over 15 patents in his name, he was also named as one of ‘100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs’ by Goldman Sachs in 2017.