You’ve seen them—dozens of people running around in public places like New York’s Central Park or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, chasing down Squirtles and the like. Out of nowhere in July 2016, Pokémon Go became perhaps the biggest hit in mobile app history, eventually hitting 600 million total downloads.
The brainchild of Niantic, which was founded inside Google in 2010 and then spun off in 2015, Pokémon Go was actually itself an evolution of a smaller location-based augmented reality game called Ingress, which had about 20 million downloads. Niantic and its 60 or so employees teamed with Nintendo to blend the Ingress game mechanic with the crazy-popular Pokémon world, and a mega-hit was born.
Although San Francisco-based Niantic doesn’t share revenue numbers, App Annie reported that Pokémon Go has brought in more than $600 million in revenue, and various reports have suggested that Niantic valued itself at about $3.65 billion—before the game went bonkers.