Esports coaching platform ProGuides will announce Wednesday that it has hired Paul Condolora as its new chief operating officer. Condolora is an entertainment and gaming industry veteran who has held executive roles at Turner where he led the digital division for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and gaming platform GameTap; Sony Pictures Entertainment, and as SVP of development for the Harry Potter franchise at Warner Bros Entertainment.
In his new role, Condolora will help the on-demand esports training platform “accelerate growth and streamline operations towards profitability,” and secure key hires. ProGuides CEO and co-founder Sam Wang tells SBJ Esports/TEO that in its first year of operation it paid out around $2M USD to coaches on its platforms. That growth, Wang said, led to hiring Condolora because the company needs help to reach the next level, including finding new revenue streams.
“I think that when we started ProGuides we did not expect the company to grow this fast. And part of that is that there a lot of growing pains as you deal with millions of customers, and there needs to be a lot of internal refinement both on the hiring side, as well as the modeling and just the business economics. So, while we’re going to maintain our experimental spirit and launch new innovations, it became clear that with Paul coming on board, a seasoned executive can really help us hone in on the business and just make it that much better.”
Condolora, who said that he already feels acclimated to ProGuides mostly due to his time building out digital gaming content for Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Turner’s GameTap game subscription platform, and the Harry Potter franchise, will look for new ways that ProGuides can expand its suite of offerings into new areas.
“Sam and Khristoph [Oedman], and I spent a lot of time talking about what would my first 30, 60, 90, 180 days look like, why they felt they needed to bring in a COO because that’s not a small decision,” he said. “So while ProGuides has obviously been focused exclusively around esports and training, is there a way to take their core dynamic and playbook and expand it elsewhere with new partners? So there’s a whole range of foundational issues that I’m going to be working closely with the founders and the team to build, but then from a business development perspective, finding partnerships that we should be thinking about to really expand the business.”
Wang says that ProGuides is looking at new ways to generate revenue for the company and for the coaches that participate on its platform.
“What we’re really trying to focus on now is how do we expand the suite of services being offered by the coaches? How do we also give them more tools to monetize their services? For example, recently we have been working on, not just offering coaching, but things like letting users challenge their favorite pro to a one-on-one match. These are the kinds of experiences that our members really enjoy and our coaches can actually implement, and that would be the additional revenue streams.”
Finally, Condolora suggests that the reason he thinks so many non-endemic executives are jumping into gaming and esports is because it offers a clear opportunity for growth, is global in nature, and is just an exciting sector to be in.
“I think one reason for it is just that there’s a clear opportunity. The industry sector continues to grow and the upside is pretty strong. Also, it’s global so there’s a lot of similarities in a global business. For me, I would say I’ve always believed that gaming will be the art form of the 21st century. To me, art is about connection, and when you see the connections that are being made on ProGuides between its userbase and its coaches, and the ability to expand that connection at the same time inspiring the next generation of gamers is just really exciting. It’s a unique opportunity.”