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Solon Bucholtz

LBC is a mobile games developer and publisher based in Langley, B.C. Our mission is to cultivate the freshest interactive experiences in the mobile world. From concept to publishing, our free-to-play games are 100 per cent home-grown, an expression of our passion and commitment to quality, and driven by a purpose that will be remembered forever.

Tell us about yourself?

I am an entrepreneur at heart who loves to explore opportunities in the tech space that solve interesting problems. As a founder and CEO, I lead from a supportive and transformational lens, focusing on building exceptional teams and supporting them through vision, talent, and capital. Prior to co-founding LBC, I founded a real estate business in 2007 that thrived and allowed me to continue to take risks and leverage opportunities. LBC was founded in 2015 with an understanding that cannabis legalization and cultural normalization were on the cusp. As such, we looked at emerging opportunities in mobile games to deliver quality content to the cannabis enthusiast audience. Since that time, LBC has grown and is now launching a game driven by a large IP in Bob Marley. I have grown my leadership skills since that time as well, focusing on personal, business, and community growth. I earned the BIV 40 Under 40 award and recently joined YPO. I continue to support tech companies in various stages through board roles, strategic consulting, or seed investment. My joy and passion outside of business are driven by being a father to my two amazing daughters and husband to my beautiful and talented spouse, Michelle. For fun, I enjoy anything competitive and try to hit the golf course as much as I can or travel.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

This past year has been challenging for many, both in business and at home. Coming off the pandemic and moving into a time of global economic uncertainty, I feel people are looking for a sense of normal and stability. If I could go back two years, I think I would have told myself to enjoy the moments more regardless of the outcome, as there is so much that is currently out of our control. On the business side, I think I would tell myself to be more agile. As markets change, it’s important to be able to balance growth and stability in your organization quickly.

What problem does your business solve?

We deliver entertaining games that focus on positive messages and a sense of community. We bring people together in interactive experiences while building a stable business driven by customer spending and advertising revenue.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

At the outset, we wanted to build the world’s most popular cannabis game that removed the stigmas of cannabis culture. With a focus on the positive impacts of cannabis in an authentic game, we felt we delivered with the launch of Hempire. With over 25 million installs, Hempire continues to be the world’s most popular cannabis game. This was the inspiration for LBC. As the business has evolved, we continue to focus on games that can deliver a positive message. With the upcoming release of Bob Marley World Tour, we are hoping to bring people together with music and a sense of philanthropy and unity. Our game will support the planting of trees around the world as well as allow people to experience music in a positive and uplifting way while leveraging Bob’s message of unity throughout the game. Bob Marley World Tour will be available before the end of the year.

What is your magic sauce?

Our team is passionate about what we work on, while our leadership has an incredibly strong foundation of disciplines to ensure we are focusing on the right products, understanding our audience, and being data-driven in our decision-making. With a strong balance of gaming, business, and people expertise, we ensure we focus on taking care of our team, having clear goals and a vision for the business and executing those goals.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We have spent the first seven years of our business validating and improving on product development, processes, publishing, and leadership. For the next five years, our vision is to leverage those learnings and investments into the successful release of new games with a shift from discovery to the repeatability of what we thrive at. We have learned much over the past about what game engines and audiences we are successful at monetizing, and we want to be able to develop and release new games more efficiently as a result. As we navigate a shift in the industry and market landscape, we will focus on optimizing our existing portfolio and seeking opportunities that leverage our learning and existing game engines.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Over the past 12 months, there have been many shifts in the industry. Rising costs of resources locally, in conjunction with shifts around privacy and data laws, have resulted in higher operating costs and challenges in the scalability of products and discoverability on platforms. On top, the global economy has resulted in a reduction in users spending on games overall. We are reducing our R&D exposure and optimizing our existing games to ensure they remain profitable while adjusting marketing strategies to ensure we can attract our users in an effective way. We also now look at hiring beyond our local region to attract strong talent in a cost-effective manner. Being open to change is key to growth. We constantly evaluate our decisions and look forward to ensure we learn and adjust to continue to be successful in our industry. Being open to discussions and opportunities ensures you are having the right conversations and being proactive in your business management.

How can people get involved?

I am always available to discuss the industry or gaming opportunities. For those looking to develop their ideas or publish their games effectively, I can be reached by email at [email protected]