Skillz Employee Spotlight: Gautam Shah, Director of Finance and Strategy
If Gautam Shah could be any emoji, he would choose the octopus. 🐙
Besides the fact that one of his favorite scenes from HBO’s Silicon Valley involves an octopus app, our Director of Finance and Strategy feels that he can relate to the octopus pretty closely.
“I’m involved in a lot of different things, in terms of my career, my community service, and social life,” says Gautam. “I like the idea of having eight different tentacles – branching out everywhere, engaging in a variety of activities and endeavors.”
The image of Gautam as an 🐙 may seem silly, but his background and lifestyle truly support this notion. Even here at Skillz, he has taken on a multitude of roles since he first joined almost two years ago.
Gautam initially came on board as a general manager to build the Skillz live streaming unit from the ground up. He began as a one-man team helping incubate the product from conceptualization through Beta launch. His role involved signing streamer and influencer partners, managing new tournaments hosted on destination sites like Twitch and Youtube, and proving the effectiveness of live streaming as an acquisition and engagement channel.
Today, Gautam’s role has grown to direct the operations behind our business development, investor relations, finance, and corporate strategy efforts. He’s tasked with supporting our founders with business functions and challenges that don’t specifically fall under a team today.
You could say Gautam has a knack for all things business. It’s a personal passion that he also hopes to help foster within young adults who aim to study and work in the industry.
Gautam serves on an alumni advisory board for the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin, where he mentors two to three students a year.
“I had mentors when I was in high school and college, so I’m well aware of how helpful personal connections and guidance can be at that time in your life. I try my best to encourage students to think creatively and to not be afraid of trying new things, whether it’s signing up for a new class, applying for a job in an unfamiliar industry, or making friends outside of their immediate circle. You have to step out of your comfort zone to learn more about yourself.”
When he’s not directing Skillz finance and strategy or mentoring future business leaders, Gautam loves to host and entertain. Dinner parties, video game bashes, 100-person college reunions – you name it, Gautam’s hosted it. Having moved around a lot when he was younger – he’s lived in Cupertino, Orange County, Dallas, Austin, and finally, San Francisco – he has friends all over the place. He says he likes to host events to bring everyone together.
Gautam’s also a huge Golden State Warriors fan, having been a loyal follower since the early 2000s.
“I remember back when the team was really struggling, we would get lower bowl seats at the Arena for $40. That amount wouldn’t even get you in the stadium now. Wins were rare, so when they did win, it was a GREAT week. Warriors fans are the best fans out there – they’ve stuck with the team through both the tough times and the successful times.”
Perseverance is a common theme and an extremely valuable asset to Gautam, personally and professionally. He says at the end of the day, it’s important to “just keep going.”
“Scaling a fast-growing company like Skillz is incredibly challenging, and I think it takes far more than just talent and intellect. More than anything, it’s about perseverance – pushing through the barriers and getting up every time you’re knocked down. Skillz has faced many challenges throughout its journey, but the perseverance that the founders instill in the team has helped the company become the #1 fastest-growing private company in America. It’s all about getting back up and continuing forward.”