RatRod Studio is a startup based out of Gatineau. Founded in 2009, the Canadian company specializes in developing and publishing interactive web content and games for mobile devices, PCs, and console systems.
The company's apps have been downloaded a combined 25 million times, though RatRod was no overnight success. After reaching the Top Paid Apps chart on both the US and Canadian Windows Stores with Drift Mania Championship 2, a Microsoft Canada Technical Evangelist sat down with founder Pat Toulouse to discuss the startup.
For the first two years, all expenses were out of pocket as the entrepreneur worked from a home office: "I had to tighten my belt and make a lot of sacrifices in order to make that happen," Toulose told Microsoft.
"I basically managed to put together the entire company infrastructure myself including our day to day development tools, servers and communication network," he continues. "In the meantime I was also trying to do a few freelance 3D jobs on the side in order to get some income to pay bills. This was like having three jobs at once; working 80 to 100 hours a week for over two years."
Now RatRod has some momentum. The Quebec company has several titles in development set to launch this year, including its first freemium-based title. RatRod is also working on its own ad mediation system that would allow the startup to maximize ad revenues and create custom campaigns for clients.
With up to 20 people working on a single title, RatRod last year moved into a bigger office that allows space for more in-house developers.
"This is only the beginning," affirms Toulose. "We are tech junkies and this is what’s fueling us."
RatRod is a member of BizSpark, a program that Toulouse credits as a tremendous help. "Our team was able to benefit from the best software and tools on the market at no cost, allowing us to focus our budget on other areas such as growing the team and polishing our games," he says of BizSpark. "Microsoft has done a great job to support developers."