A Word on Startup Culture

Startup culture seems to be all the rage. Companies are changing the status quo of what it means to run a business. Having happy hour, three foosball tables lined side by side, and a March Madness league are all infamous icons of having “startup culture”. Whether or not it works — there are companies receiving hundreds of millions in funding and others going out of business everyday (startup culture, eh?) — is up for you to decide, but Handango embodies this culture, and we wanted to give our word on the current rage about some of the most controversial topics in it.

Whether you like it or not, modafinil has worked its way into startup culture. An unwritten rule of the often foggy lines of any startup, whether it be in Irving or Silicon Valley, is to have an “edge”. Some people get an edge by eating healthy, working out, and drinking lots of water. Others dabble with risky prescription amphetamines like Adderall and Vyvanse. But, the new age of entrepreneurs, namely developers, are switching to a smart drug called modafinil.

It’s becoming increasingly popular for individuals to divulge the fact that they use prescription drugs to increase their performance, both cognitively and at mechanical work. The other day we had our HR department report that there was an individual who classified himself as a biohacker who applied to our company for a developer role, and he got the job. He disclosed that he is an avid user of the wakefulness promoting drug modafinil. Hiding the fact that you use modafinil is counterintuitive: these drugs, commonly coined “smart drugs”, are not one should be ashamed to use. They are not being used to get high or to party, rather, to increase cognitive performance and to gain a mental edge. Who can’t respect that?

At Handango, we have a no questions asked policy. We don’t dig into your personal life and try to uncover what we don’t need to know. You live your life, and as long as you do your job, we don’t try to make your life any harder (in fact, our health, life, dental, and other insurance plans make it easier and yes, we’re hiring). We’ve had developers bring in and use modafinil and love it, and we’ve had others use it and not like the effects it had on them. At the end of the day, there’s no one size fits all answer to cognitive enhancement and smart drugs because everybody’s body is different and there are no two biologically similar individuals, even for twins. What we do know is that the individuals who use modafinil (Modalert being the most popular brand of modafinil online, but Waklert, Modvigil, and Artvigil all making their presence known in the workplace) love it, and its one aspect that allows us to outperform competing firms in this cutthroat environment where everybody is fighting for their piece of the pie. We don’t intrude your personal decisions. We’re not your parents. We hire adults and treat them as such, and as long as work gets done, why bother?

My goal with this is to encourage companies to follow the same transparency. It’s not frowned upon to allow cognitive enhancement drugs in your workplace. Rather, it’s frowned upon to be hiring extra developers and not seeing the results that your competitors are seeing with half as many employees. Don’t spend time trying to boil down every last detail of your developers lives and let them have the flexibility to live their lives as long as they help you live yours.

Isn’t that fair? I think so.

Selenium Ventures Joins Handango

Handango has been the leading provider of mobile applications since the company’s inception in 1999. Saying that a lot has changed in the 18 years that we have been in business would be an understatement. 12 days marks the anniversary of the release of the first iPhone, and in 2016 alone, sales of the iPhone topped 210 million units. The world we are living in is changing fast, and Handango has always been ahead of the curve. Handango was one of the first online software stores to sell mobile apps for personal digital assistants and smartphones. Handango offered and still offers worldwide distribution, support, and e-commerce services to its partners.

On June 16, 2017, Handango was pleased to announce a 66.7% stake in limited liability company Selenium Ventures. Selenium Ventures is an app development company based in Salt Lake City, Utah that employs 45 talented software engineers to create web properties, mobile applications, and other online properties to serve their users. Selenium is most known for their partnerships with large names in the mobile gaming industry, such as 10Bet, Bet365, BetFair, and William Hill. Selenium provides insight on applications such as the Bet365 app and provides users information on how to download the application and utilize it in such a way that maximizes revenue for the associated company — in this case, Bet365. As a result, for their efforts, Selenium Ventures is given a commission on every new user referred to the platform. Selenium owns more than 100 web properties and had net $1.2MM in the 2016 fiscal year, making it a leader in its space.

Handango has made the decision to acquire a majority stake in Selenium Ventures for a wide array of reasons, but the most prevalent one being the rationality of the decision. The mobile gaming industry is expected to more than double in the coming two years alone, and Selenium Ventures is currently one of the largest firms in its space. Due to the current oligopoly in the mobile gaming industry, Handango’s stake in Selenium Ventures allows Handango to focus on creating the applications in our pipeline and updating the ones that we have already released without diverting our focus. Entering a new space would require research and development and recruitment of talented software engineers among the other barriers to entry in the mobile gaming space. Handango believes that our stake in Selenium Ventures will allow for our investors and our company to have a vested interest in the fast-growing industry without diverting our focus from our current flagship products and services.

While able to acquire the company in its entirety, Handango has decided against doing so for the reasons listed above. Handango management is not disrupting company operations and is keeping the same CEO, board of directors, and other talented staff. Unlike other acquisitions, Handango does not view this one as a turnaround of a failing company, rather, interest in a fast-growing, dominant company. We thank the board of directors and investors in both Handango and Selenium Ventures for approving the purchase and look forward to future developments with the Selenium team.