The Guy Behind Hit Game 'Skater App' Is An Australian Comedian With A Physics Degree And An Insane Work Ethic

Skater App Founder Dain Hedgpeth, front right, with his team. Image: Supplied.

Since launching in late September gaming app Skater has clocked rapid growth.

Consumer apps usually see a spike around Christmas, but Skater’s spike was huge, building a rapid fan base in the US. In the lead up to Christmas the app’s download rate was about 10 times the baseline of a few thousand a week. On Christmas Day it spiked to about 20 times.

Here’s the chart.

Designed by Dain Hedgpeth, the skateboarding game is the third he’s built. The first two were a surfing game for Rip Curl and a racing game for Renault.

“I was able to take [what I learned from] that, had a financial runway and then made this which is completely for the end user,” Hedgpeth said.

A former stand-up comedian, Hedgpeth has a degree in physics and has done the rounds of comedy clubs in Australia, so he draws on a range of life experiences. But it’s his insane work ethic which has helped him most.

Before the cracking download rates Skater clocked up over Christmas, Hedgepeth told Business Insider he had poured every bit of his time, money and energy into developing the app.

He claims to have taken only two days off in the past two years.

“No girls, no movies, practically zero contact with friends, and so much of it was outside of my comfort zone too. It’s been heavy but coming out the other side really satisfying to know that nothing was spared and people are loving the end result.”

Although this game wasn’t designed to be aligned with the brand, the fit with skateboarding companies came naturally and resulted in a lot of exposure for the app.

In the lead up to Christmas the Skater App team got in touch with a bunch of skateboarding brands in the US, including Lakai Footwear, Toy Machine and Foundation skateboards, to run a competition on social media.

The #LoveParkSession contest had users uploading their best runs on the game’s new level featuring Love Park in Philadelphia which was released before Christmas to win free skate gear.

Hedgepeth said each of the brands had about 500,000 people in their Facebook community and another 100,000 followers on Instagram.

“A small Instagram is much more valuable than a large Facebook community,” he said, “Each entry got ten to a couple of hundred likes. All up maybe into the hundreds of thousands.”

Based out of Fishburners in Sydney, Hedgepeth bootstrapped the development of Skater which has taken about two years to develop.

At $6.50 per download in the Australian app store, Business Insider estimates that at about 5,000 downloads a week, Skater would be pulling in about $20,000 a week after Apple takes its 30% cut. Hedgepeth wouldn’t confirm the figure.

“We’re going to make a good multiple of what we put in,” he said.

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