The Technology Entrepreneurship Abie Award recognizes a woman who is the builder of an innovative, ground-breaking, and game-changing technology venture startup (within a larger organization or not). This year’s winner is Holly Liu, Co-founder of the mobile gaming company Kabam.
Holly co-founded Kabam in 2006. Her work has literally been game changing for her company and the entire gaming industry. She led the design for Kabam’s award-winning “Kingdoms of Camelot” franchise, which grossed over $250 million in less than four years. She was also the founding mobile designer for the extension “Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North,” which was the top grossing app on iOS in 2012.
Kabam would go on to partner with some of the largest Hollywood brands such as Marvel, Star Wars, The Hunger Games, The Hobbit, and countless others. Holly’s work has led to over fifty patents as well as technical and data innovations within Kabam and for the entire gaming industry.
Holly’s most recent role was as Chief Development Officer in charge of developing Kabam internationally through key relationships, starting with China. Among other things, she continues to develop global cultural initiatives within Kabam. These relationships led to the sale of Kabam to Netmarble and Fox in 2017.
Prior to that, Holly was Kabam’s Chief of Staff and oversaw HR, leading corporate culture and talent experience for more than 1,500 employees (including contractors) at Kabam globally. She oversaw the team responsible for recruiting and retaining top talent, and grew the Kabam employee base by 500% in three years. While the industry standard for women in games is 17%, it was 22% within Kabam. Bringing more women into the gaming industry has been a large focus for Holly, from leading the entire organization through the #gamergate scandal to encouraging the recruiting and retention of women through the Women@Kabam group.
Holly is a consummate entrepreneur, executive, and startup mentor, and is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences. Fortune named her one of the “10 Most Powerful Women in Gaming,” and Forbes named her as a leading woman in gaming and entrepreneurship. Currently, she is investing in women through mentorship and funding as a Visiting Partner at Y Combinator.
Holly earned her master’s degree in Information Management & Systems at UC Berkeley in 2003, and her bachelor’s degree in Communications & East Asian Studies from UCLA prior to that. She sits on the Advisory Board to the School of Information at UC Berkeley. You can find her thoughts on Twitter (@hollyhliu).
Thank you to Dell for sponsoring the 2018 Technology Entrepreneurship Abie Award.