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Why Skillz Stock Soared 16% This Week

By Brett Schafer – Oct 22, 2021 at 1:42PM

Key Points

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The company just announced a splashy hire. Plus, Cathie Wood is buying shares.

What happened

Shares of Skillz (SKLZ 2.22%) are up 16.8% since last Friday's close, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company announced the hiring of former Amazon executive Vatsal Bhardwaj as its chief product officer. Cathie Wood's ARK Innovation ETF also bought some shares this week, which could have propelled other investors to buy the stock, pushing it higher. 

So what

On Thursday, Skillz put out a press release announcing it had hired of Bhardwaj. The executive recently served as the head of game tech at Amazon Web Services (AWS). His experience sounds very relevant to the competitive multiplayer mobile game platform Skillz is trying to build. As chief product officer, Bhardwaj will be in charge of building the ecosystem and services for developers to build games on the Skillz platform. The company has gotten complaints about the minimal amount of games on its service, so this hire could be a step in the right direction to get the developer and player flywheel moving.

A person excited playing a game on his phone.

Image source: Getty Images.

After this news, Cathie Wood's ARK Invest bought 2.11 million shares of Skillz stock on Thursday. With the popularity of ARK Invest's ETFs among retail investors, this news likely helped keep the momentum going for the stock, and is why shares are up more than 15% as of this writing. 

Now what

Even though Skillz is up 16.8% this week, the stock is still down approximately 50% year to date, providing horrible performance for investors so far this year. The company's financials continue to grow, with second-quarter revenue up 52% year over year to $89.5 million. However, the company is still hemorrhaging money, with a $79.6 million net loss just last quarter and negative $65 million in operating cash flow through the first six months of 2021. With almost $700 million in cash on its balance sheet after its special purpose acquisition company merger, there's no need to worry about Skillz running out of money anytime soon. But the company will have to reach profitability eventually.

There are also multiple short reports out on the stock, which is likely a big reason why shares have gone down so much this year. The reports reference Skillz's hyped-up partnership with the NFL, which hasn't amounted to much, if anything, so far for this business.

If you believe Skillz can continue growing its business, and that the alleged shortcomings of this business are wrong, then now is probably a good time to buy shares of this fast-growing mobile gaming platform with the stock still trading way off of its all-time highs. 

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Brett Schafer has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Skillz Inc. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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