Andrew Paradise mentions the new concept of mobile eSports during his session at Casual Connect USA 2014. “I think this is a very fast growing space and type of monetization for mobile gaming in general,” he said. “The concept behind mobile eSports is really harnessing people’s innate desire to compete in games.”
Andrew Paradise, CEO of Skillz, had started two companies, PhotoTrade and AisleBuyer, before starting Skillz. After two successful exits, he realized he wanted to get into gaming, but wasn’t sure how to do it. The idea for Skillz was born when he was playing a mobile game and accidentally clicked on an ad for Burger King, completely disrupting the gaming experience. He thought there must be a better way for games to monetize their content. So he created Skillz, a platform that allows game developers to make more money by allowing players to do what they enjoy most: competing against each other. And he continues in the games industry because games are his passion, and he wants to make the industry better. In fact, he says if he were not in the games industry, he would be trying to figure out how to get into it.
One of the most important assets Paradise brought with him to Skillz from his previous experiences building companies was the connections and friendships he had formed. In fact, the co-founder and COO of Skillz, Casey Chafkin, was the fourth employee at AisleBuyer.
A Revenue Boost
Paradise feels, “It has been amazing to see how our platform has driven real results for our game developer partners.” Recently, they released a case study revealing how their cash competitions are boosting revenue and increasing engagement and retention for Touch Mechanics, the creators of Strike! Real Money Bowling. He believes the most impressive finding is that the Skillz platform is generating more than $.50 in incremental ARPDAU, something unheard of in the industry.
The fascination Paradise has with games began very early. By age seven, he had learned to program by hacking a video game with a hex editor and later wrote his first game in Pascal. So in his free time, you will usually find him testing out new game titles. Currently, he is playing a game called Hoppy-Hobby. In it, you control a little frog hopping from platform to platform, something he calls strangely addictive. He prefers playing on iOS, simply because that is what is in his pocket. And he plays everywhere, even the Coliseum in Rome. The Skillz office could be called his center for console gaming; he reveals that it has every console except Intellivision.
Within the next few years, Paradise expects to see an explosion in eSports. He has noticed it already making huge gains in popularity, but as gaming moves to mobile, he believes more and more people will want to watch and compete in eSports. At Skillz, they are building a competitive mobile gaming platform that will allow anyone, not just very hard core gamers, to participate in eSports. He foresees eSports could be as big or bigger than the NFL or NBA in the next five years.