Hopscotch Before Shark Tank
Hopscotch is a kid’s coding and video game founded in 2012 by Samantha John. Hopscotch is an educational mobile application that uses a drag-and-drop interface to teach children the basics of coding and programming. The app officially launched in 2013 and has been steadily growing in popularity since then. Samantha John went on Shark Tank hoping to find an investor to help her change her business model. She struck a deal with Mark Cuban. Unfortunately, the deal with Mark Cuban didn’t close, but Hopscotch was still able to grow, offering educational coding camps and courses. As of 2023, Hopscotch makes over $5 million in annual revenue.
Coding is a skill widely sought-after in the modern age of technology. Learning coding at an early age could help a child develop their cognitive abilities and get familiar with advanced coding techniques in the future. Samantha John knew that and decided to make coding for children easier and more fun to learn. That is why she founded Hopscotch, an app designed for children to code, create, and play any game they could think of.
Samantha John founded Hopscotch in 2012, but the application officially launched in 2013. The app is designed for children aged six and above and allows them to create their own games, animations, and interactive stories using an easy-to-learn visual programming language. The application’s drag-and-drop interface allows children to easily learn the basics of coding and programming. Hopscotch is self-paced and self-directed, allowing children to learn at their own speed and in their own way. The application also allows children to share their games with others as well as play other kids’ games in a community hub. Children can even make money from their games!
Hopscotch officially launched on iOS and iPad. The application uses a subscription model to earn revenue. Children can purchase in-app currency to spend on games, which allows game developers to earn money based on their game’s popularity. Samantha wanted to create a friendly environment for kids to learn coding and programming skills that they can develop in the future. Hopscotch launched its first round of Venture Capital funding in 2013. The company had another funding round in 2015.
Samantha decided to go on Shark Tank, hoping to find a Shark willing to guide Hopscotch to successfully grow to help children all over the world learn to code and develop their programming skills in a friendly and fun environment.
Hopscotch on Shark Tank
Samantha John was on season 12 of Shark Tank, seeking $400,000 for a 4% stake in her company, Hopscotch. She demonstrated her product to the Sharks and explained its potential in helping kids learn programming skills and start their own businesses. She allowed each Shark to test two games made by children on Hopscotch. The Sharks were impressed by the games and the application. She then walked the Sharks through how to program and develop a game using Hopscotch, which proved to be a fairly simple and fun process.
Samantha told the Sharks about the inspiration behind Hopscotch. She confessed that she had never thought computers and coding would be for her, but when Samantha had to take a computer science class in college, she thought otherwise. She quickly delved into the programming world and gained experience in the field. Samantha wanted kids to have easy access to programming learning tools that are fun and accessible to everyone, so she came up with Hopscotch.
When Hopscotch first launched, it was a free application without a revenue model. Anyone could pick it up, develop games, or play other people’s games. The only way the company made money when it first launched was if customers purchased Hopscotch’s in-app currency to use on other games. At the time of filming, Hopscotch has an active user base of 200,000 users a month. The company had its peak user base in 2015, with 400,000 active users a month.
Samantha stated that the company didn’t want to struggle financially, so after it reached its peak number of monthly active users, Hopscotch implemented a subscription model. At the time of filming, Hopscotch had 6,200 subscribers. A Hopscotch subscription costs $8 per month or $80 annually. Samantha claimed that Hopscotch was breaking even but not earning any revenue. Samantha wanted to abolish the subscription model and remove the paywall to Hopscotch, making it free for everyone. She stated that she went on Shark Tank in hopes of getting enough funding to do that and earn revenue through the app’s currency system.
Daymond John didn’t think Samantha had a clear business plan, so he was out.
Lori Greiner claimed she didn’t know how she could help Hopscotch grow, so she was out.
Kevin O’Leary had been in the industry before and didn’t want to do it again, so he was out.
Barbara Corcoran confessed that she didn’t know enough about the business or the business model Samantha wanted to implement, so she was out.
Mark Cuban, the last Shark in the tank, had already used the application with his children and loved it. So he offered Samantha $400,000 for 16% of the company. He had previous experience in organizing coding camps for kids in minority communities. He proposed to do the same with Hopscotch.
Samantha countered $600,000 for 5%. Mark was immediately recoiled by this but gave her another chance. Samantha asked for $600,000 for 10%. Mark countered for $500,000 for 11%. Samantha countered one more time, asking for $550,000 for 11%. Mark agreed.
Samantha left the Shark Tank thrilled, believing Mark Cuban was the perfect investor for Hopscotch.
Hopscotch Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
Unfortunately, the deal with Mark Cuban never closed. However, the company’s appearance on Shark Tank gave Hopscotch a massive increase in its user base. The application had a 500% increase in downloads in less than a year since Samantha’s appearance on Shark Tank. Hopscotch closed 2021 with $3 million in annual revenue.
Hopscotch launched a Game Development Workshop to help kids learn to program. The workshop started in 2022 for $399 per student. The workshop provided kids with tutors, personalized lessons, and more. Samantha’s goal with the workshop was to teach kids about programming and game development in a fun and instructive way.
After Shark Tank, Hopscotch received recognition and was featured in many media outlets such as The New York Times, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, and more. Hopscotch also received various awards for the company’s efforts to provide children with a friendly environment to learn and practice coding and programming. Hopscotch also launched its very own online store to sell programming merch and swag, which include shirts, phone cases, bags, notebooks, and more. As of 2023, Hopscotch has over 24 million downloads on the App Store!
Hopscotch has been steadily growing and receiving recognition without the help of a Shark. Samantha and the others at Hopscotch continue launching game development workshops and updates on their application. Now as of 2023, Hopscotch has grown to make over $5 million in annual revenue. The company will likely grow further and provide kids around the world with a fun and friendly programming environment. For more updates and information about the company, visit Hopscotch’s website here.