The house that Dave “Builderman” Bazsucki built continues to grow as the gaming platform he cofounded, Roblox, entered the stock market today. The stock, which was direct listed on the NYSE this morning, closed at $69.47, 54% above its reference price of $45. That not only sent its market cap soaring, but also raised Baszucki’s fortune by about $1.4 billion, giving him an estimated net worth of $4.2 billion.
Founded in 1998, Roblox is a gaming platform that provides kids and teenagers (and a growing demographic of young adults) the tools to build their own games, simulations and other virtual experiences. Those creators in turn can earn real money when players spend the platform’s virtual currency, Robux, on either those games or special items within them – over $328 million last year. Players spent over 30 billion hours on the site in 2020.
“We have a huge vision for the company we want to build,” says Craig Donato, Roblox’s Chief Business Officer. With the capital raised by going public, he says the company aims to hire more, continue its international expansion and invest in more experiences for its audience.
Gamefam CEO Joseph Ferencz, whose company develops games exclusively on Roblox, said in an email that the IPO validates the platform’s future growth. “Roblox’s IPO is waking up investors, global consumer brands and top entertainment companies to the fact that Roblox, like YouTube, is now a must-have component of brand experience. It’s a pop culture phenomenon built to last.”
Not surprisingly, the virtual interactive platform has seen a lot of growth during the pandemic, during which the number of daily users grew 85% and the number of hours spent on the platform skyrocket by 124%. The company’s total revenues for 2020 came to $924 million.
As more people get vaccinated, it’s hard to tell whether the growth Roblox experienced during a time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders will be sustained. But Donato is optimistic. “I think there’ll be a very positive long term impact in terms of the number of creators and users that came onto our platform,” he says.
“”And what that will do is not only will help fuel growth, but it will continue to fuel our network effects,” he continues. “There’s the social network effect – those people are now on a platform for friends to play; as well as the creator network effect – we have more creators building content that attracts more users.”
Article from Forbes, by Alex Knapp