Smart50 Awards 2014

36 Wicked Witch Software

Revenue

More than $2.6 million

Growth

65.30%

Founders

Daniel Visser, 38

Head Office

Melbourne

Year Founded

2008

Employees

49

Industry

Information technology

Website

www.wicked-witch.com.au

There’s a good reason video game developer Daniel Visser says he would like to run into the high school career adviser who told him to learn a trade and stay away from video games.

Visser’s company Wicked Witch Software has grown into a $2.6 million business after almost doubling its revenue between 2011-12 and 2012-13 and picking up gaming contracts with Australia’s biggest sporting codes.

Wicked Witch started from humble beginnings out of a bedroom in a small flat in Melbourne’s outer east in 1999 making games for Nokia mobile phones, but quickly got too big for such modest settings.

“We actually took the cupboard door off and had one guy working out of the cupboard,” laughs Visser.

“We had a joke that the new guy got the cupboard.”

Wicked Witch was soon picking up bigger and better projects, growing organically as it kept on top of the rapidly changing video game industry.

The company secured a massive coup by picking up PlayStation and Nintendo game contracts with both the AFL and the NRL in 2009, and these days it works with both codes on the latest consoles.

As one of the few games developers in the country, Visser gets a fair share of emails from aspiring video game designers asking for work experience with the company.

He says it’s because of the knockbacks he received when he was younger that the company tries to accommodate as many requests as possible, having half a dozen interns with the company at any given time.

“I would like to say yes to all of them, but I have to prioritise space,” he says.

Visser admits it has been a challenge taking a step back from the company as it grows.

“It came to breaking point about five or six years ago when we realised we couldn’t possibly do everything ourselves anymore,” says Visser, who believes it was important to hand a sense of ownership over to his staff.

“I’m starting to enjoy the power of delegating more, but it still is difficult to walk past and fight the urge to intervene.”

While Visser says the company has been approached with acquisition offers in the past, he says his priority is to reward faithful and hardworking staff with a share of the business.

“I want to reward the guys and girls here for the amount of blood, sweat and tears they put in, I think they should get some kind of pay off.”

Besides a possible employee share scheme, Wicked Witch’s future will be to stay on top of its game.

“We don’t want to fall behind. We want to keep up to date and do bigger and better things,” says Visser.

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