31. Skillz

You've got (e)game

Founders: Andrew Paradise (CEO), Casey Chafkin
CEO: Andrew Paradise
Launched: 2012
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
$53 million
Valuation: $84.7 million (PitchBook)
Key Technologies:
e-sports, gaming, mobile, video games

George Kavallines | CNBC

The next time you're tempted to complain about your teenager's video gaming, think again. There are 18 million registered users on mobile gaming platform Skillz and the company says players collectively earn over $675,000 in prizes on average, every day. San Francisco-based Skillz runs about 2 million tournaments a day that feature online games such as solitaire, mahjong, and sports-related mobile titles. Users can compete in both informal and formal tournaments to earn cash prizes, so even amateurs can get a taste of the competitive gaming scene.

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The entire e-sports market has exploded, with projections showing it bringing in over $1 billion in revenues by next year. The mobile slice—where Skillz competes—will grow even faster over time given. Right now, mobile games account for about one-third of the gaming market's total global revenues—a percentage that's estimated to reach 41% by next year. Skillz is certainly keeping up with that growth. Over the past year, it's grown its revenue run rate from $100 million to $400 million. In 2018, it awarded over $8 million to its top 10 players and doubled its number of employees.

Skillz is also taking on a larger role in the community. Last year it launched the largest mobile e-sports charity tournament, raising $100,000 for the Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization. Over half of Skillz players are women, a percentage that is consistent with the growth of women in the e-sports industry worldwide. The company has raised a little over $52 million since its 2012 launch from investors including Liberty Global Investors, Telstra Ventures, as well as the owners of the New England Patriots, New York Mets, and the Sacramento Kings.

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