This is a follow up story for Hunt A Killer. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published almost 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hello, my name is Ryan Hogan and I am the co-founder and CEO of Hunt A Killer, an innovative entertainment company that delivers clues, items, and correspondence to people’s doorsteps, which immerses Members in an interactive story.
At Hunt A Killer we work to create experiences that position players as detectives working to solve mystery, sci-fi, and horror-themed cases. We have a variety of products, including various subscription box seasons and all-in-one games (premium boxes). Our latest subscription box seasons include Hunt A Killer Mystery: Curtain Call and Hunt A Killer Horror: Blair Witch. We also have a new all-in-one game for the retail channel, Death at the Dive Bar, and have a new premium box out on our website, Fine Art Foul Play.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
This past year we have seen a growth in the company, and have been busy with the launch of several new products. At the beginning of 2020, we released Hunt A Killer Mystery: Curtain Call, and this fall released our latest subscription box season, Hunt A Killer Horror: Blair Witch, which is in partnership with Lionsgate. As I mentioned, we have also expanded into retail for the first time with our all-in-one box, Death at the Dive Bar, which is now available on Amazon and at Targets across the country.
Never give up on finding ways to move your business forward, even if that means letting go of certain projects to keep momentum on successful initiatives going strong.
We anticipate doubling our revenues from last year, expecting over $50M. We also continued to grow our customer base, reaching over 100K subscribers, and have now sold over 2M boxes. Inc. Magazine also recognized us this year as the sixth fastest-growing company in America on their Inc. 5000 list, which we were very honored to receive. It’s been a very busy year, to say the least, but we have been able to provide our Members with immersive games to play at home with their friends and family during this time, and we wouldn’t be here without their continued support.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
One of the biggest lessons from this past year is a reminder of something I originally learned years ago in the military: resiliency. This has been increasingly important as I continue to grow as an entrepreneur. Even though this year has been a tough one, you have to remind yourself to keep going, no matter what. Remember to think of how to persevere in any situation, such as creating contingency plans in case there are scenarios when things could go awry. Also, never give up on finding ways to move your business forward, even if that means letting go of certain projects to keep momentum on successful initiatives going strong.
Another great reminder is over-communication, even if there are no specific updates. When I was in the military, one of my Officers in Charge taught me this lesson, and this year it definitely came in handy as a reminder. As our team worked to figure out how to move forward throughout the year, I made sure they had weekly updates, and even if I had to tell them that there was no update, I let them know. To me, this allowed for more transparency and allowed us to work as a team to figure out the best solution and next step while continuing to build trust among my team.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Each year we release new and interactive experiences for our Members, and next year will be no different as we continue to create new subscription box seasons and premium boxes. As we look ahead we will expand more into the retail channel, with a variety of new games that have yet to be announced, along with some new and exciting partnerships.
We will also look for new ways to bring audiences in with our immersive storytelling through a variety of mediums. This includes working with our new agency Moxie & Co. to create a variety of branded publishing projects.
And finally, the future of Hunt A Killer includes the digital distribution of immersive content. We’re hard at work on the 5-year vision and will have a beta app launching next year.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
One of my favorite reads so far this year was American Icon -- the story of the Ford turnaround and the steps Alan Mulally took to save this iconic brand. Both entertaining and educational, it outlines the importance of constant organizational disruption to minimize bureaucracy, improving conversations with a focus on candor and empathy, and understanding the needles that drive the business.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
First of all, know that failure isn’t the end. It can take a lot of tries before finding the right product-market fit. Second, make sure you analyze the market and go with the data and not your gut.
Before starting Hunt A Killer, my Co-founder, Derrick Smith and I started a company called Run For Your Lives. While the company didn’t work out in the long run, we took our experience working with live events and analyzed the live entertainment industry. Through this process, we noticed that escape rooms, live theater experiences, and murder mystery podcasts were on the rise. Taking the time to analyze the market helped us along the way as we created Hunt A Killer v1, a live murder mystery event that took place at a 200-acre campground.
From the event, we quickly learned we had the right product-market fit, as the event sold out, but we also learned that the event wasn’t scalable. Armed with a product-market fit, we pivoted and went with a medium that could provide wider distribution, and from there created our first Hunt A Killer subscription box and have since continued to grow year over year.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We have over 20 positions opening up over the next quarter for technology, marketing, writers, designers, and various operations roles -- keep your eyes on our ZipRecruiter page.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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