Lane Merrifield is a Canadian tech entrepreneur, businessman, venture capitalist and television personality. Lane Merrifield became famous after selling his baby-tech Club Penguin to Disney in August 2007 for $700 million USD.
Lane Merrifield is worth an estimate of $350 million. His earnings are from his sell of Penguin Club to Disney, his television appearances, and his other businesses.
Lane Merrifield was approached to join the panel of CBC Dragons’ Den business television reality show for its thirteenth season, and he has been on the show till date. He was joined alongside another new dragon, Vincenzo Guzzo, to replace Joe Mimran and Michael Wekerle. This article gives a breakdown of Lane Merrifield, whose name has been a household name among kids because of his life changing virtual game. Also included is his net worth, wife, house and activities in dragons’ den.
Lane Merrifield was born on 11 November 1979 in British Columbia. He was born in his mother was an award-winning teacher during his childhood while his father was a church pastor. His father’s gregarious, charismatic personality in managing the church helped to influence his desire to become and succeed as an entrepreneur. Also, Merrifield’s father and his brothers ran a small dairy farm known as Merri Dairy, so it was easy for him to pick little entrepreneurial skills. So basically Merrifield grew up in a middle class family where not all his daily needs are met. In order to increase his allowance, he decided to mow neighbours’ lawns as young as 11 years old, this was probably because he was too young to get a normal job. Merrifield stated he went to their neighbours informing them that for ten bucks he could mow their front and back lawns.
To do this, it took him about an hour to mow front and back lawns for $10, whereas the minimum wage for an hour as that time was $4.50. he worked every Tuesday and Thursday night after school, accumulating close to $250 from about 15 clients. Merrifield attended a Christian college in Edmonton before moving on to study at Taylor University, Upland, where he obtained a degree in Sociology and Religion.
Having a background in marketing, website design and graphic design, Merrifield worked for a friend of his sister who owned a web design and video editing company. As side hustle, he designed logos, small websites and motion graphics for clients who could not afford the services of the company he worked for. It was during this process that he met Lance who was creating mini games on flash and from there the idea of Club Penguin was born. Lance Priebe is a web developer who creates internet-based activities that don’t require long and memory-clogging software downloads. Indicating interest in Lance’s characters they decided to upgrade the game experience. They met their boss Dane Krysko and proposed a new company where the three men will be partner and they reached agreement leading to the birth of New Penguin. Club Penguin was different from other internet based games because it introduced a platform where multiple users could be simultaneously represented on the screen.
Their partnership was flawless from the start as each partner understood his role in the system. Lance developed the game and was in charge of the upgrade and running while Krysko covered the finance and worked on preparing the business model with Merrifield. The partners also agreed to donate 10 percent of their profit to charity. This singular act has helped support a lot of kids and families in the country and abroad.
Club Penguin and Lane Merrifield
Club Penguin began the testing of the game in September 2005, with about 5,000 kids who were frequent users of Lance’s flash game site. Within a month the users speedily increased to 25,000 and by October that same year, they officially launched. The website had no advertising, no charge to access the basic site but charges a monthly fee of $5.95 or $57.95 a year for users who wanted to buy accessories for their igloos or clothes for their penguin. Seeing the safety of the game, most parents opted to pay for the yearly subscription for their kids and Club Penguin hit it profit margin within three months. The partners worked load tripped daily as traffic grew leading Merrifield to handle the phone support and wrote blogs to keep the users abreast of the recent developments on the site. Also, Lance struggled to keep the servers up.
With an increase in the number of users and in revenue, the new company employed more hands, which means their first office meant to contain 10 people squeezed in about 35 people. So the partners opted to look for stronger expertise to partner with them in order to continue providing first-hand game experience for their users. Merrifield and his partners talked to industry bigwigs such as Disney, AOL, Sony and NewsCorp. At the end, Club Penguin accepted to partner with Disney because Disney was comfortable with one of their non-negotiable terms, which was that the 10 percent would continue to go to charity. In 2008, at 28, Merrifield sold his first business for $350 million with a clause of an additional $350 million if the partners met their profit targets for 2008 and 2009. After Disney took over Club Penguin, they recruited Merrifield to head the project, which made him their youngest executive vice president. He maintained the integrity of Club Penguin and turned it into a billion-dollar brand.
In 2011, Merrifield left Disney and launched FreshGrade, a learning assessment tool that connects teachers, parents and students. This tool helps to improve and personalize learning. The essence of this platform is to bridge the gap in communication between all the people who are involved with child education. Lane has received prestigious awards such as Webby, BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television), “Top 35 Executives Under 35” by The Hollywood Reporter and Honorary Fellows Award, Business Leader of the Year.
Lane Merrifield and dragons’ den
Lane Merrifield joined the panel of CBC Dragons’ Den business television reality show for its thirteenth season, and he has been on the show till date. He joined alongside another new dragon, Vincenzo Guzzo, to replace Joe Mimran and Michael Wekerle. Through this, he set up Wheelhouse, an organization that invests in and supports early stage tech companies and entrepreneurs.
Lane Merrifield’s net worth
Lane Merrifield’s net worth is an estimate of $350 million. His earnings are from his sell of Penguin Club to Disney, his television appearances, and his other businesses such as FreshGrade.