In my old neighborhood in Los Angeles, I would always pass a building that had the weirdest truck parked in the driveway. It was a large van, plastered with a logo for something called Games2U. It wasn’t until the Why Guys sent me their latest story that I realized what the heck it was for.
Games2U is a mobile entertainment company. Block parties, birthday parties, events– nearly any gathering could benefit from this service. Like video games? Like lasertag? Like running around in a giant hamster ball? Games2U has got you covered, and for a relatively small fee, they’ll roll their interactive gaming trucks up to your next gathering.
The service was founded in 2007 by David and Stuart Pikoff, “two brothers with little more than a great idea, a dream of working together and a vision of what could be,” according to their website.
Sound interesting? It is. Listen to the new Why Didn’t I Think of That? story, then read on.
Wow. If only we had this at our block parties when I was a kid! All we had were a bunch of intoxicated adults, telling slurred stories while poking a bonfire with a stick. Ah. What could have been.
Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks something like this is long over do. Dun & Bradstreet just rated Games2U as the 18th fastest growing franchise in America. So how did they do it?
Well, first they did a lot of planning. They spent more than a year developing their mobile unit, where kids can simultaneously enjoy the latest video games on big screen TVs. (The truck, in case you were wondering, is a Mercedes Sprinter–also used by companies like FedEx and DHL). Then, they laid the groundwork for a national franchise.
Buying a Games2U Franchise will cost you around $150,000. For this fee, you get a vehicle and a territory in your neighborhood.
Games2U no longer holds a monopoly in the mobile-gaming world. Their success has spawned copy-cat companies. And to deal with that, the brothers Pinkoff decided they could do more in the way of innovation to differentiate them from the competitors. “To do so, the brothers rented out a 5,000-square foot building as their laboratory and dubbed it the ‘fun factory,'” writes Grace Williams for the Wall Street Journal. “Inside, they tested out a host of new games and activities that they later introduced, including the U Bot, a 7-foot-tall robot that is kid-controlled; a rolling 4-D movie theater; and an upgraded version of Capture the Flag called ‘Booger Wars.’ To protect their ideas, Mr. Pikoff also applied for patents.”
In the end, it really is those weird little touches–Booger Wars, giant hamsterbals, outdoor laser tag–that set Games2U apart. The ideas are wacky and fun. And if there’s one thing that’s good to have in the world of children’s entertainment, it’s personality. David and Stuart Pikoff have plenty of that.
Last year’s sales? $3.5 million. Of that, they’re profiting just over $100,000. Steady figures, but not enough for the folks on ABC’s Shark Tank, which recently featured Games2U. Founders David and Stuart Pikoff appeared on the show asking for $5 million in funding. They didn’t get it. Luckily for the Pikoff’s, there seems to be no correlation between winning a reality show and being a real life success.
Regardless, have a look at this clip from last months episode of Shark Tank.
Note to Self: Never put yourself in a position where Jeff Foxworthy has any say over your destiny.