How a Dedication to Diversity Helped Drive Skillz to Massive eSports Success

A recent Business Insider survey showed that viewers dedicated more than six billion hours to watching eSports in 2016, a 19 percent increase from the previous year—and signs show even further growth from those numbers. There are now approximately 2.6 billion mobile gamers, while leagues are forming around the world and “traditional” professional sports organizations are moving into the field. But no player in the sphere has made quite as big of a splash as mobile eSports leader Skillz—the fastest-growing company in America, according to Inc. Magazine. In fact, the organization recently announced its Series C funding, which came in at more than $25 million and was led by top media and telecommunications companies Telstra and Liberty Global. Other participants in the round included Sacramento Kings co-owner Andy Miller, Bridge Bank, and its existing investors Accomplice and Wildcat Capital.

To keep up with that growth, Skillz doubled its team in 2017, and expects even further scaling in the near future. In matching all that demand for the best and brightest talent—developing platforms that keep those myriad gamers in mind—Skillz leaders such as vice president of engineering Miriam Aguirre go above and beyond in dedicating themselves to diversity efforts both in their own organization and in the tech industry at large.

Aguirre regularly makes speaking appearances extolling the virtues of bolstering diversity in the STEM fields, including a powerful recent appearance at The Alumni Society’s Leadership Summit. The Summit brings together an influential network of Latino C-suite executives, thought leaders, and talented entrepreneurs for an event aimed at elevating Latino leadership in America. Aguirre also recently spoke at the Wonder Women Tech Diversity and Inclusion Conference and TECHNOLOchicas 2.0.

While the gaming and technology industries are typically dominated by men, Aguirre sees that bringing in other perspectives—such as women and minority leaders—could make a major difference in driving success akin to that which Skillz has reached. The company now acts as a partner for more than three thousand developer partners and has hosted over 100 million eSports tournaments. And rather than mere numbers, all of that amounts to Skillz delivering amazing experiences to multitudes of developers, streamers, viewers, and players at every level.

And while women in the gaming industry often face undue criticism and lack of opportunity, Aguirre is confident that the future of eSports is female: “I take pride in advancing the Skillz mission of enabling ‘eSports for everyone,’” she says. “And we want to ensure that this principle of inclusivity is followed both externally and internally.”