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How Two Failed Entrepreneurs Made Millions Selling Murder Mysteries | Forbes



Hunt A Killer is played almost entirely offline—and that’s largely the point. “There is not a better time that’s needed to put your phone down, get off Twitter and get off all these other devices,” says CEO Ryan Hogan, 36, a former U.S. Naval officer. “We’re going crazy right now. We all need to be able to detox.”

Last year, Hogan’s company, which he cofounded with his childhood friend Derrick Smith, 37, generated $27 million in revenue by selling subscriptions, premium “all-in-one” editions and collections of previous installments (starting at $140 for six boxes). The pandemic is providing a big boost: This year Hunt A Killer should book about $50 million in revenue and hopes to turn a profit for the first time. The two founders own 85%, worth an estimated $68 million.

The duo are the latest beneficiaries of a board-game boomlet that dates to the mid-1990s, when a complex German strategy game called Settlers of Catan first became popular on U.S. college campuses. To date, Catan has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and still generates north of $100 million in revenue annually some 25 years after its initial release. Overall, Euromonitor expects board-game sales in North America to increase from $3.4 billion in 2019 to $4.1 billion in 2024.

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