Three Years to $137 Million: Jamdat Buys Blue Lava


Jamdat just bought Blue Lava for $137 million! Very cool. In case you don't recognize Blue Lava, I wrote about them last year. They're the mobile games startup in Hawaii founded by the guy that brought Tetris to the West, Henk Rogers. And in fact, Blue Lava still has the Tetris mobile license which Jamdat picked up in the deal. Thank goodness! Jamdat will get their hands on another money maker besides Bowling! ;-)

The neat thing about this is that Henk himself left a comment on this weblog in response to my post last year:

Thanks for the writeup. I Googled myself for the first time and found your article. Cool!

I moved to Hawaii 2 years ago from San Francisco to set up Blue Lava. There were several reasons:

1] Act 221 is a major State of Hawaii tax break for investors into Qualified High Tech Business. How about a 100% tax credit for money invested... Mahalo Hawaii

2] I got my start at University of Hawaii. It is a bummer to have to move after college to get an interesting ICS related job. So locating in Hawaii is a way of "paying it forward."

3] We share daylight hours with all of our business partners in the Orient (Japan and Korea are big in mobile phone games) and the rest of the 49 States (most of our customers).

4] It really is just an hour's drive from the North Shore and some of the best waves in the world. I used to surf "Gas Chambers" and "Pupukea", which is next to "Pipeline", soon after I moved to Hawaii in 1973, Now I just like to watch.

The mobile phone game industry is a huge swell coming in. The waves have already hit the shores of Japan and Korea, so we know what's coming. All these years (now 20) of paddling in the game industry will pay off when the mobile 60 footers hit.

We have one of the best development teams in the industry. We have Tetris, the perfect game for mobile. We have a major attitude about wanting to make the best games in the world. Life is good. We are going to surf this wave and tell our grand-kids about it when we get old.

To become part of the team, you have to show us that you are comitted to becoming the best in the world at whatever we hire you to do.

Posted by Henk Rogers

It's so great he took some time and commented here, no? I actually saw him on G4's Icons not too long ago talking about the history of Tetris - it was very interesting... but I digress.

Not only did Henk and his team catch one of the waves he was talking about in his comment, they rode it all the way in for a big payday. This is obviously a special case because of the value of the Tetris license - one of the most popular games of all time - but it does show the increasing value of mobile startups. It took Henk three years (based on his comments from a year ago if I'm adding correctly) to build a company worth serious cash.

This goes back to my "Popular as Porno" post. If you can come up with a product that's as compelling or popular as Tetris (a big order, I understand, sort of like coming up with a product that's as popular as porno) than there is real money to be made in the mobile space already. And the *big* hit hasn't come yet. There's still a Googlesque success out there waiting to take off.

In other words, the big swells really aren't here yet. Someone help me with my surfer terminology: what do you call the little waves that proceed a BIG one? :-)


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