Raising the game.
Take chances. Move fast. Be open.
We Hippos love to learn the hard way. It’s the way we know to discover the ideas we never would have expected—oddball ideas that end up bringing countless moments of snackable joy to millions of people.
We’ve been fortunate enough to reach the peaks of success and the pits of failure multiple times. It keeps us on our toes. And hungry. It’s made us stronger as both a close family of makers and a global community of gamers. It’s taught us that as long as we keep listening—to each other and our players—even our missteps bring us closer to our goal of having a positive impact on people’s lives.
Nate, Art Manager
Dream big. Think small.
Hyper Hippo was born in 2012, when Lance Priebe, one of the founders of the hugely successful Club Penguin, led a team of elite game designers on a quest to create something even bigger. Expectations were high; the new pod of Hippos were ready to deliver something massive. We emulated the large game houses by extensively designing, developing and playtesting the vast new world of Mech Mice. There was just one problem: we were so busy thinking big that we forgot to think small.
As the success we’d envisioned failed to materialize, we gradually came to realize that the success of Club Penguin was built on moments, joyful moments that added up to a great experience. When it became clear that Mech Mice was not the hit we were looking for, Lance took a step back and threw down the gauntlet: Six months. Anything goes. Every idea counts.
That’s how our breakthrough game AdVenture Capitalist changed the course of our company and pioneered the genre of Idle gaming. Talk about thinking small! Originally conceived as “Progress Bar: The Game,” it was about as complicated as it sounds. Most of the team expected it to be one of our fail-fast experiments—until we discovered we couldn’t put it down.
After early success on Kongregate.com, we partnered with them to launch Adventure Capitalist on the Apple Store and Google Play in 2015. Within a few short years, AdCap was being enjoyed by 40 million players.
Listen carefully. And constantly.
That’s what it all boils down to for us. Our journey to create a highly popular game taught us that only by listening closely to our players, our community and our team, early and often, can we hope to find what makes a game truly special. This has made us pretty obsessive about understanding how and why players react to our games, long before they are even games.
Of course, all the data and feedback in the world means nothing if we don’t follow through on what we’ve learned, so we decided to stay fully independent by becoming our own game publisher. This is how we ensure that the vision doesn’t get compromised by forces outside our community of players and makers. We are free to make (and break) our own rules. As we develop our next generation of games, we are excited to grow with new Hippos and partners who want to make a positive impact on people around the world by giving them something to get excited about.
Sam is the CEO and his key focus is to support our business by bringing together amazing talent and encouraging creativity. Sam worked as an Executive in Residence (EiR) at Accelerate Okanagan. He earned his MBA at Ivey School of Business, is passionate about tech and is constantly diving deep to discover the future of the industry so that he can guide our teams in creating successful games.
Lance is our lead hippo, mountain man and the visionary behind our organization. Lance has been developing online worlds since he created his first virtual world in 2000 called Penguin Chat and later co-founded and created Club Penguin in 2005. He likes to work or as he would likely phrase it, “pursue his passions!” He creates ALWAYS and loves that he gets to be a part of an organization that connects people around the world through fun!
In her role as CBO, Jen brings a wealth of business experience to Hyper Hippo where she focuses on implementing strategies to increase company expertise, communication, and clarity of decision making to create a positive impact in all our studio does. Jen is a fearless champion for the entire Hyper Hippo team and their well being. She promotes an inclusive work environment, opportunities for team members to have a voice, and feel a sense of place and know they belong.
In his role as SVP of our Entertainment Portfolio, Jonathan leads our games, story & content, and lab teams, providing strategic guidance and oversight for our games and IP. An industry veteran with 20 years of experience, Jonathan has a passion for making (and playing!) games with a background in development that includes Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, and Electronic Arts.
Allison oversees the business of making games and is responsible for Hyper Hippo's financial management strategy. Leading the Finance & Accounting and Workplace & Technology functions, Allison manages our corporate services and serves as a key contact for external partners. Allison is a designated Chartered Professional Account and holds an HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.
From platform partnerships, to technology and developers, we strive to work with the best and most innovative partners in the industry. We take pride in our positive and productive relationships with all of our partners.