Smart50 Awards 2015

47 Wicked Witch Software

Revenue

$3.7 million

Growth

110.36%

Founders

Daniel Visser, 39

Head office

Victoria

Year founded

1999

Employees

40

Industry

Games

Website

wicked-witch.com.au

About five years ago Wicked Witch Software went through an especially tough patch after a project it was counting on fell through, leaving the company having to survive on its cash reserves.

Founder Daniel Visser reassessed how he was running the games and software business, which he founded in 1999, and put a few fundamentals in place to ensure he would never have to tackle the same sort of crisis again.

“We kept our entire team on for over two months waiting for this project to come through, eating up the entire profit from the previous project and all our cash reserves. And guess what, the project didn’t come through!” Visser says.

“The only solution to the problem was to significantly downsize, which cost us again because we had not put any cash aside for redundancies. I had to pool all my personal money together to keep the downsized company going, and we did it really tough for a few lean years.”

Visser says the reason the company is now seeing strong and sustained growth is because it has implemented a strategic plan of income diversification, firmed up its cash flow management, improved agreements with staff and solidified work contracts to mitigate risk as much as possible.

The company, which derives up to 20% of its revenue from exports to the US, UK and China, is now well and truly back in the game. One of its main games titles, Catapult King, has been successful across the world and has gained considerable success in China’s discerning games market, which is testament to the company’s focus on creativity and innovation in the competitive market.

“The Chinese mobile consumer operates quite differently to most western markets, and we have adjusted our games to reflect these different behaviours,” Visser says.

“The simple economics of the games industry, and the fact that the majority of consumers in this industry are global, means that thinking and operating with an export orientation is part of the Wicked Witch DNA.”

Visser says as well as getting the business fundamentals right, fostering a vibrant work culture has been vital.

“The most difficult thing in starting a business, growing the business, and keeping it sustainable and successful is in keeping the cultural things that make a 10 person studio great when you’re nearly at 50 people and growing.”

 

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