“I’ve been making games since about the age of twelve — my two lifelong passions are games and mathematics,” says Iman Khabazian. The lifelong technologist has been in the business for decades, operating in various IT and engineering roles that have since culminated into a new venture of his own.
It was during an engagement with Northern California game studio Playdom that Khabazian was tasked as the development lead where his primary objective was to come up a new game that would reach 500,000 active users in one months time, or “an unheard of deadline,” as he puts it.
As he nailed this key deliverable, Playdom was soon acquired by Disney for $563m+ in 2010.
He then went to work with Disney on a game called GnomeTown, which had a sole purpose of driving insights for other games the company was creating. It was with this goal in mind that Khabazian’s primary focus fell on A/B testing at the core, building a novel tech stack that could be used across the portfolio of Disney Social.
His invention would help Disney’s digital games generate tens of millions of additional revenue, although they eventually nixed their gaming division in favor of other priorities. The key creation here was content-driven A/B testing which enabled teams to A/B test much more aggressively. As Disney’s gaming initiative wound down, Khabazian left to take the mystery out of A/B testing and optimize mobile game development for smaller app developers.
Branded as Clairvoyance, this niche software automates predicting the most profitable product features and ad campaigns— a process that typically takes months of time from numerous PhD’s and still remains more of an art than science in the end. This niche software automates methodologies for choosing which tests to run, methodologies for choosing which tests to deploy, multivariate testing, and segmentation.
Hitsfu, as the parent company would come to be called, was thus founded in 2014 by Iman and his sister Ellie Vilendrer, a practicing attorney and Hitsfu’s COO.
The AI analytics platform enables outcome driven decision making for app developers, “the first technology that replaces a data science team and provides recommendations for features and marketing campaigns based on predicted outcomes.”
“Our goal is to help app developers breakout and get to the top of the charts,” he continues. “There are so many barriers to doing this, tons of time and data are involved. Many great games never see their true potential for this very reason.”
While Hitfu believes their product can benefit game developers of all shapes and sizes, he sees their sweet spot within those studios that have atleast $200k of budget as those that they seek to target. Pricing is segmented based on API calls, starting at about $700/month, with two months free during their current introductory period. He also sees a future whereby Hitsfu could become a publisher and participate in the upside for those instances where there are breakouts they assist with achieving ‘top 10’ status; in 2014, that cumulative figure was over a billion dollars of revenues.
Hitsfu’s first reference customer, VIEW, has seen total time spend in app by 6X so far using their software, “a figure that could realistically double over time.”
Two additional early votes of confidence for this fledgling startup include the addition of legendary CEO advisor David Bradford and a semifinalist placement in this years Minnesota Cup competition.
Can Hitfu’s approach be used to predict its own success? “For us, it’s 60% team, 30% product, and 10% luck,” he says in calculating their odds of winning.