All month long, we’ve been celebrating the 5th anniversary of our first product launch in April 2013! Thus far in our Skillz Through the Years blog series, we’ve covered the inception of Skillz, the opening of our current San Francisco headquarters, and the growth we experienced in 2016. This week, we’ll be discussing the most recent chapter in Skillz history – 2017 & the first few months of 2018!
2017 was a truly award-winning year for Skillz. All the hard work and industry education the team had been doing for years paid off in a big way – just a few months into 2017, Skillz became the first eSports company ever named to the CNBC Disruptor 50. Only two months later, we were also named the #1 fastest-growing company in America on the Inc. 5000!
Despite this incredible recognition, we didn’t take our foot off the gas – if anything, it motivated us to reach even loftier goals. Throughout 2017, we were working hard behind the scenes to build innovative new technology to bring players together through competition, such as the world’s first eSports ticker, which we launched exactly 38 years after ESPN’s first SportsCenter broadcast. To enable increased social connections for our users, we then released the world’s largest multi-app chat technology, enabling our players to connect with their millions of peers all over the world.
As our headcount was growing rapidly, we knew we needed some good old-fashioned time together to bond and relax, so we went on a company-wide retreat! Among the many Skillzians who joined the ranks in 2017 are Nicole, Matthew, Sean and Katie. They jumped into the company headfirst and had the chance to participate in awesome new events like the Cinco de Mayo Happy Hour, rooftop BBQ and Halloween party. We even had half-day Fridays in August to promote work-life balance and enjoy the fleeting summer weather.
“My favorite Skillz memory is from the Halloween party,” Nicole recalls. “Our team won the contest for best group halloween costume! It’s crazy how fast we’ve grown. Back then, we only had about eight people in the entire product team – now we have a handful of people dedicated to each specific task.”
Katie looks back on her time at Skillz fondly: “It’s a blast working with this group of hooligans. I feel incredibly lucky to be in an environment where everyone is so passionate, hardworking and bright. I know I can always count on my fellow developer relations team members to keep things fun while we’re working to help the company grow crazy fast.”
Matthew Le is another Skillzian who began his journey at the company in 2017. “There’s so much I didn’t know before working here – even things I didn’t even know that I didn’t know!” he reflects. “Every day I encounter something new and exciting to learn, and I really feel the impact of the work I do here.”
Only a few months into 2018, we’ve already hit the ground running with new, disruptive announcements like becoming the first gaming or eSports company to sign the Parity Pledge and doubling our revenue to a $200 million run-rate in under 9 months. We also exhibited at GDC again, hosting live tournaments and giving away prizes including iPads, Samsung phones and Bose speakers.
“I’ve grown a ton through spending this semester at Skillz,” says Emily, a new co-op. “I was a little timid at first, but now I’ve learned so much that I can also help other people – some even newer than me.”