Imagine if you accidentally created the next big thing – simply by sticking with your passion. That’s what David Baszucki has done by creating the biggest VR community in the world. Today he announced $92 million funding for his virtual world, ROBLOX.
David started ROBLOX in 2005 as an online playground similar to Minecraft, where you could build your own world and share it with others. He struggled to get the site going, and its growth never matched Minecraft’s in its early years.
In 2013, David’s co-founder, Erik Cassel died after a three year battle with cancer. Then, a year later, Minecraft was bought by Microsoft for $2.5 billion. At that point, after 9 years, ROBLOX had still only managed to raise $10 million.
David could have given up, and the story would have ended like so many others, with ROBLOX fading away. But instead, he doubled down with his vision of a 100% user-created world where anyone could turn their creation into a game or adventure and make money from their creations.
David built up the tools to build your own games, and the number of games – and users – doubled, doubled and doubled again. Today, ROBLOX has grown to 48 million users playing 22 million digital games created by 1.7 million game creators. The top ones now earn over $100,000 per month.
As David explains, “An eight-year-old, for a school project, could open ROBLOX studio, find a Roman Coliseum, paste it in, people it with zombies wearing togas, push it to the ROBLOX cloud, and immediately show it to their family and friends.”
The biggest move came a year ago, when Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear launched their VR goggles. David realised his 3D world was perfect for VR. So he made the move to make the entire ROBLOX world into 3D virtual reality and said “ROBLOX will be the largest VR social destination anywhere in the world.”
Suddenly, 48 million users had full access to the biggest virtual world in the world, and could now experience their own creations and all the games in life-size 3D.
That makes David’s ROBLOX now the leading VR social network in size, ahead of everyone else’s plans to create full 3D virtual worlds, from Facebook to Microsoft.
David says “Every month, 48 million kids from around the world come to play and create and imagine. They do it in an immersive, 3D environment created by the community”, adding “We have a big vision to create the world’s ultimate social platform for play.”
David’s perseverance has paid off. His $92 million funding today from the same VCs who funded Snapchat is a testament to that.
His key to success? To not only be patient enough to wait for the wave to come, but to surf it when it arrived.
“The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it.” ~