Studio 777 is like the Vegas of Second Life. It is an institution in SL business which offers the residents not only the option of skill gaming and winning money but also entertainment. Studio 777 also offer residents the chance to find virtual employment not only with the company but with other companies in Second Life as well.
It is not surprising when Studio 777 announced that they were going public allowing residents in Second Life to be shareholders. Finally residents were able to buy shares. 60% of shares were sold out within an hour on that first day. The owner of Studio 777 Luke Slingshot and his team surprised but also knew that residents who were buying shares could see that this was a business to invest in now and for the future.
I was able to chat with Luke about the success of going public and also about Studio 777.
Interview with Luke Slingshot
Piers: Hi Luke, can you tell us about STUDIO 777 going public as we have all been hearing the buzz on the streets about it but I know our readers would like to hear it from you?
Luke: We're really pumped that Lanai broke the story on the SL Enquirer... The press release was called "Ring The Virtual IPO Bell" and editors all over the world ran the story, on CNN and USA Today and hundreds of websites - But SLE was first!
Around two years ago, Skip Oceanlane, the CEO of CapEx, asked me about us joining the companies going public there, I had heard about it from Glaznah Gassner, he owns Smartbots and Earn2Life and has been a great friend to me.
We've been really lucky, this was a startup in 2009 and now we have L$10m in monthly revenue and over a million guest visits.
It's grown so fast that we didn't have time to be part of CapEx but Skip and I stayed in touch. Early this year, we met up and talked about it again and I talked about it with Glaznah and we made the decision to move ahead and started preparing the IPO paperwork. We went public last Saturday morning at 5am SLT, and the IPO is already 80% sold out, we're selling 4 million shares at L$1.50 each, low price so everyone can profit with us. People have been great, we're gotten tons of investment offers, but we've been really lucky and never needed the capital.
CapEx is great though, it's really easy to use and Skip has made honesty the key over there. It's vital, there were a lot of bank scandals back around 2007 or 2008, before I knew about SL.
We've worked hard to build a reputation for honesty and fair play, it's the only way to succeed with a business on here and the same with going on CapEx, because it's a stock market simulation game, investors have to trust the CEO and the Exchange.
We watched Glaznah go through it with Earn2Life and Smartbots and that got us thinking about joining CapEx. When he started Smartbots on CapEx, the IPO price was L$1 per share, that was about 2 years ago... now the stock is at L$5 per share plus dividends. It's important to note that while companies pay dividends, under Linden TOS there can be no guarantees.
So it's great for a new investor, kind of like our freeplay games here... You can learn about the stock market and how to trade and place limit and market orders for a lot less than the real stock market. 100 IPO shares in FUN (that's our ticker symbol) is L$150, we wanted it to be affordable for every player who wanted to be part of 777.
Piers: With such a successful business and a brand that is so well known did you ever imagine Fun would be as successful as it is today. I mean, your company is the most wanted shares right now?
Luke: Never imagined it, not at all, it's amazing. When this got started in 2009, there weren't any places that looked to fuse gaming & clubbing. A lot of the game places were sketchy skyboxes, and clubs might have a few stray games in the corner. But nothing that looked at the whole resort concept.
It was so clear to us, every place in Vegas or Macau has clubbing & bars & fun stuff around the gaming. Exactly. A lot of people here say it looks like the Hard Rock Vegas with the dome and club in the centre
If you look at the original sketches, you'll see it really ended up being what we dreamed and that makes SL epic.
As time has gone on, we've kept growing and people always asked how they could invest and be part of 777 and now we're able to do that. It wouldn't have happened without our guests and our team, they're incredible. I'm really proud that every member of our team is receiving shares of FUN stock and we'll continue to grant stock to our team members. That's more what this IPO is about Piers, the investment we will use to grow the business, and our stock can be compensation for our great team or to make acquisitions, just like real life companies do.
Piers: Can you explain a bit more in depth for those who are new to trading. For example, if they bought say 100 shares @L$1.5 what kind of dividend's would they be looking at getting?
Luke: Dividends on CapEx are paid monthly or quarterly, we'll be monthly, and shareholders get dividends through their CapEx accounts. In our IPO application, we mentioned that we have about L$10m in revenue monthly and L$9.8m in expenses, that's because our players are very skilled a win a lot, over L$250m so far. Our IPO is for 20% of the company, that's what the 4 million shares are, the total company is 20 million shares. So each month we'll plan a dividend. Let's say our profit for the month is L$250,000... That will go to all the shareholders.
Piers: Is there still chances for residents to buy shares?
Luke: In just 5 days, over 80% of the 4 million shares have been sold, but there's still time to be part of it. IPOs are the best way to buy into a stock because the price is controlled and with the L$1.50 price it's not a big investment.
While we can't make any guarantees because of TOS, our intention is for between a 8-10% annual dividend return for shareholders, and of course we hope the stock goes to L$5 like Smartbots has.
Piers: You have been in sl for a long time now and have seen business come and go. What do you feel are the reasons why Studio 777 is as successful as it is?
Luke: I think 777 has been successful because of the people Just like in rl, you have to have a business plan to be successful and a lot of new players don't take the time to make a plan and learn about what they're getting into. Fairly low barrier to entry to start a club on here.
The question is how do you make money to support it? People miss that step and it's a big one. For us, it was the fusion of the clubbing and gaming, while it's a huge amount of work, the two parts work together really well, people attend our events (6-8pm SLT, we've had over 1400 events since 2009) and win game credits... Or they're planning and they get live entertainment.
just like with the sketches, we believed that if we set up both parts, they'd work together, but we didn't know.
But it did, people have really liked being able to have a resort destination that had shopping (we have 50 stores in our mall), jobs (our Jobstar Job Center is on the sim, we bought Jobstar last year and have more than doubled its revenue and customers), partying and games so it's really been fun.
I'd also say about businesses on here... being reliable and honest is key. Look at SLE and Lanai, the goodwill and trust you all have built up over the years gives you a great reputation. That's what's needed for success in rl and on here and we try every day to follow that.
Piers: What's next for you and the business?
Luke: What's next for us after the completion of the IPO is growing the business even further, both with what we're currently doing and with new ideas. We're pitched all the time about projects, now we'll be able to do more of them. We've always wanted Vegas condos here, for example... A lot of people have their home set to Sol Hermosa so we should give them a bed or something :) Bring a hot girl home after winning :) We also see a lot of need for more tools to promote in world, that's a big challenge still. We also plan more events, some on more European times. So for us it's continuing to execute and after the IPO finishes with more budget and connections. We're thinking about that, not sure if we'll go as far as Beachwood or Anaconda (lboth clubs rock) but we'll have more raves, those are fun And here at 777, everybody wins L$ every 30 minutes, even on freeplay games. You have to play the games, it's not camping, but everybody who's playing gets cash. We're really happy that thousands of people have made their first money here at 777 or use the money to pay for all of their SL, rent, clothes etc. Exactly, we still think Linden should give every new avatar L$1000 to get started with shopping, its rough when you have L$0.
So we try to help with new players, they can play the freeplay games and practice and earn some money having FUN. It's built loyalty over the years, it's amazing how many of our original players from 2009 are still with us, it's great Even our DJs, like DJ Sasch from Germany, has been with us from the beginning He owns the DJ World group as well. It's amazing and that's what I mean about making a good honest reputation, it opens so many doors
If you would like to still buy shares here are the links of how to do so.
★ 3 Easy Steps to buy IPO Stock:
1) TP to 777's CapEx ATM:
& Click on the ATM. Look in chat for your Account Password.
2) TP to CapEx:
to Deposit L$ into in the ATM, funding your Account &
3) Log on to
http://www.SLCapex.com/ipo to trade!