There are 1.5 million active mobile gaming users who are playing games enabled with Skillz, an online gaming platform where users can win real money. What makes that number most amazing is that the company is only launching in Apple’s iOS mobile App Store for the first time today.
Based in both Boston and San Francisco, the company was founded by Andrew Paradise and Casey Chafkin in 2012. Using “games of skill” as a model, the company allows game developers to add competition play features to their mobile games where users can win either real money or virtual currency in head to head play. (Only users in states that allow betting on “games of skill” can win real cash; all users playing in cash competitions must be over 18.)
How does Skillz gaming platform work? If two mobile users each wager a quarter bet in a head to head bowling match, the winner gets most of the money with a small percentage paid to Skillz and the game developer.
Although it has been testing many of its games (which have been available on Google’s Android platform for awhile) on iOS for more than four months, the release of over 150 iOS games enabled with Skillz unique cash competition platform could have a huge impact on the company’s success as well as the mobile gaming industry. (A $2.5 billion industry expected to triple over the next three years according to Frank N. Magid Associates.)
“Releasing our iOS SDK enables iOS game developers to put these kind of these competitions into their games for the first time,” Chafkin, the company’s chief operating officer said.
“While we are happy with the 150 iOS game, that really just scratching the surface,” he added.
To this point, over 300 gaming studios have used the Skillz platform on more than 2,700 games. Skillz provides a new revenue stream for game developers who formerly had to charge for a game purchase or in-game add-ons to make money. Skillz also improves user engagement and retention.
However, the money that both Skillz and gaming developers can earn is pretty impressive. For one game, a mobile Skillz bowling game, Chafkin said that Skillz is generating 52 cents in average revenue per user per day. By comparison, Candy Crush generates between 5-10 cents per user per day.
Skillz has raised over $10.3 million in funding led by Atlas Venture with NextView Ventures and some angel investors involved as well. The company currently has 30 employees.