The Eden Prairie-based mobile game developer has found its groove after eight years and now it’s ready to accelerate.
In 2003, Keith Pichelman and Mike Lehne left their positions at Digital River to launch Concrete Software and began building games and apps for all different types of mobile devices, including Nokia Series 30 and 40, Palm Pilots and various other J2ME-based phones. Their first big success was Aces Texas Hold’em in early 2004; when sales skyrocketed, they become recognized in the mobile industry to the point that Nextel (pre Sprint) approached them to collaborate on mobile game development.
Throughout the following years, Concrete Software continued to grow, although its products remained divided between games and mobile apps (such as to-do lists, productivity logs, etc.). It wasn’t until late 2009 that Concrete Software dropped the apps and went straight gaming, a move that would redefine the company’s mission of creating premiere, cross-platform mobile games.
Over the past two years, Concrete Software has seen a 38% average increase in annual revenue, driven by a massive increase in downloads across all platforms and a spike in ad revenues/in app purchases. Barnes & Noble recently included Concrete Software as a partner for the NOOKcolor.
One of Concrete Software’s major competitive advantages is found in the ability to create a game for one OS, then rapidly duplicate and deploy. As CEO Pichelman said, “Once a game is created for one platform, such as the iPhone, our unique conversion technology allows the game to be ready for quality assurance in about a week — and usually ready to ship within a month (pending Apple). Relative to some of the bigger guys like EA and THQ, we move quick.”
Throughout our conversation, one thing is clear: Pichelman, Lehne and their crew of 20 are stepping-up to EA, THQ, Gameloft and Capcom in the mobile gaming space. “We can be the first company carriers think of when they release new phones,” he concludes.