'Facebook for kids' creator enjoying monster success
At the beginning, the company hired what it considered the most experienced person in the business, its current chief community and safety officer, Rebecca Newton.
Newton is a regular speaker on community, children and online safety, has advised governments and is also a member of the Safe Internet Alliance.
To tackle the issue of safety, Moshi Monsters has a large team of experts and moderators, and also uses software to scan millions of messages sent through the site.
“It’s a very delicate balance that we’re trying to strike,” says Smith. “We don’t want to lock down communication completely for kids, but nor do we want a wild west where they can chat and say anything they want.”
Moshi Monsters and its creators are thinking big. Smith said the next goal for the firm is to take the game to players in the US and globally.
The game has already won over players in the UK and Ireland, with Australia also hooked on the colourful characters.
Also on the list is managing the transition of the game from PC only to mobile and tablets, a growing area, particularly for younger users.
Smith says Mind Candy also plans to branch out from Moshi in the future. “Moshi is a wonderful start but we want to create many other worlds, stories and characters for children.”
Despite the plans for world domination, for the time being, Mind Candy isn’t going to float.
Its number one priority, Smith says, is to build “extraordinary entertainment” for its fans. But he isn’t ruling it out in future. “When the company is a little big bigger, it’s something we would consider if it made sense. But it’s too early to say.”
Next week, Smith will take to the Dublin Web Summit’s stage to pass on what he’s learned over the years – both his successes and failures.
“I think it’s valuable for entrepreneurs to share their errors so others can learn from them,” he says.
He advises budding entrepreneurs to read as much as possible and amass knowledge from books, blogs and the stories of other entrepreneurs. That will help inform decisions in the future, and help improve business, he says.
But above all, think big. “There’s a huge world out there, two billion people are online,” he said. “Don’t limit yourself to small thinking.”
I think people have realised now the internet and technology is a very important and healthy part of a modern childhood