Skillz has announced the appointment of Vatsal Bhardwaj as the company’s chief product officer. An experienced gaming executive who most recently served as the general manager and director of Game Tech for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Bhardwaj joins the Skillz C-suite, further strengthening the company’s executive team with seasoned leaders from many of the world’s most prominent brands.
“With an outstanding track record at both Amazon and Facebook, Bhardwaj brings nearly two decades of experience to the Skillz leadership team at a pivotal time as we aggressively scale and grow our business around the world. Under his direction, our product team will develop and deploy innovative new gameplay technologies, accelerate our entry into multiplayer synchronous gaming, and build out brand-sponsored tournaments and partnerships, giving both our players and developers the best experience possible,” said Skillz CEO and founder Andrew Paradise.
“I look forward to leading the product team at a moment where Skillz is reimagining the future of mobile gaming and scaling the business. I’m pleased to join Skillz during this enormous growth period as the company continues building its foundation, driving the product and tech teams forward to expand the innovative product offerings and deliver fun, fair, and trusted gameplay for players across the globe,” Bhardwaj said.
As chief product officer, Bhardwaj will report directly to Paradise while leading the global product team at Skillz as the company drives to become the world’s top competitive entertainment brand. In this role, Bhardwaj will lead the product and technology teams, and will be responsible for driving the creation of new services and products from concept, development, and go-to-market. He and his team will build and operationalise the company’s product roadmap, which will include building industry-leading features to enable developers to build successful businesses on Skillz. Additionally, Bhardwaj will help scale the teams, operational practices, and systems as Skillz experiences continued strong growth.
While with AWS, Bhardwaj was the leader for Game Tech, including launching one of the largest open-source initiatives, Open 3D engine, Amazon GameSparks, growing Amazon Gamelift and initiating several new initiatives in gaming. Before joining Amazon, Bhardwaj served as head of product for various groups at Facebook, where he managed projects and teams across engineering, product management, game design, production, art, UI/UX, and analytics. He led Facebook’s India growth teams, and launched and scaled the Oculus App store, developer services, and several other initiatives to grow revenues for Oculus. Prior to Facebook, Bhardwaj was Storm8 GM and Head of Studios, and also served in related roles at Match.com and Zynga.
Bhardwaj holds an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Duke University, and a Bachelor of Computer Engineering degree from Gujarat University in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.