Skillz Blog

Skillz Through the Years: 2016

The story continues! If you haven’t been following along, we’ll catch you up. In honor of the five year anniversary our first product launch in April 2013, we’re throwing it back all month long. We started with the genesis of Skillz and our first milestones as a company. In our second installment, we proceeded to focus on the year of 2015. This week, we’ll be exploring 2016!

By the end of 2015, our headquarters were still rooted in Boston while new Skillzians began growing our San Francisco office. We moved through four different spaces in San Francisco before settling into the office that we still currently occupy!

The current SF office, back in the early days

In January of 2016, we announced our launch of the first cross-platform multiplayer system for mobile gaming, meaning our players were now able to compete across both iOS and Android. Emil Hessel, who started working at Skillz in 2016 and is currently part of our product team, is still impressed by the massive growth he’s seen during his time with the company.

“Every once in awhile, I have a surreal moment when I look back and realize that what used to be just a vision is a true reality today,” he reflects.

History of Skillz

Skillzians all dressed up and ready to enjoy our Halloween party in 2016

Employees such as David, Nathan, Emil, Michael, Hope, Soojee, Gabriel, Alex, Philippe, Bri and Chris joined our new San Francisco headquarters in 2016, while Skillzians including Cate, Amy, Cam and Elliott laid the foundation for our Portland office. Although we now have employees based in several different locations, we maintain a close-knit community.

“When I first started at Skillz I was working remotely, but I still felt welcomed by everyone in our SF headquarters. There’s a great energy I can still feel, even from hundreds of miles away. It’s been great to witness the growth of Skillz, all while hearing from our players and knowing how important Skillz is to them, too,” remarks Amy Forbes, a member of our customer advocacy team in Portland.

In October 2016, we surpassed the milestone of $50 million in total eSports prizes awarded and introduced the world’s first eSports ticker technology. By December, we had hosted over 100 million total mobile eSports tournaments total. This year also marked our first large booth presence at GDC! The Game Developers Conference is the world’s largest professional gaming industry event, and takes place just down the road from our headquarters in San Francisco.

A lucky GDC attendee winning a free iPad during one of our live tournaments

By the end of 2016, our staff would grow from 51 employees to 84. When looking back on his time at Skillz, Creative Strategist Nathan Proctor finds that details he once overlooked really reflect the growth of our company.

“One thing I noticed during my first week at Skillz was the ping pong table at the back of the office. It felt so far away, because the floor was not even half full of desks – that was two years ago. Today, the ping pong table is on the second floor – and we now occupy three of the six floors in our building! The table has become something of a metaphor. If you ask me how successful Skillz has become, I’d respond, ‘Well, where is the ping pong table?’”

Check back next week for the final installment of our Skillz Through the Years month-long blog series to hear from some of the newest employees who joined us in 2017 and find out how we came to win the coveted marquee spot on the Inc. 5000 as the #1 fastest-growing private company in America. See ya then!