Unlocking doors to new adventures

Unlocking doors to new adventures

G2A.COM is an online digital marketplace for digital entertainment and has over 30 million users from 180 countries around the world. It connects sellers and buyers in a secure ecosystem. Bartosz Skwarczek, Founder of G2A.COM, explained how the company started with an unexpected email from an ambitious 18-year-old. He also spoke about his journey and how his drive comes from the ambition to inspire others.

Tell us a bit more about your business and how it started.

G2A.COM is the world’s largest marketplace for digital entertainment, where users can buy vouchers for digital products such as games, gift cards, subscriptions or software. We have created the most secure two-sided ecosystem connecting sellers and buyers, trusted by over 30 million users from 180 countries who have purchased over 100 million items. G2A.COM gathers in one place 75,000 digital deals offered by sellers from around the world. In 2023 the platform recorded 250 million users’ visits. We are also very active in online security and are a member of Merchant Risk Council. We were also awarded with the prestigious American Card Not Present award in the Merchant Team of the Year category, alongside companies such as Microsoft, Barclay’s Bank and First Data.

If we rewind to the inception of G2A.COM in 2009, it all began with an unexpected email. The message came from an ambitious 18-year-old entrepreneur, reaching out with a simple yet compelling request: “Hi Bartosz, can you please become my business mentor?” At first, I ignored it, but Dawid’s persistence was evident as he followed up the next day with a much more detailed message. His tenacity resonated with me, hence I decided to take him up on his offer and became his mentor for a period of six months.

Having an extensive over a decade-long journey in the business world, I began imparting wisdom on the psychology of achievement and sharing valuable business insights. As our mentorship progressed, Dawid came up with the idea of embarking on a joint venture – a gaming business. Initially sceptical, I questioned the viability of entering such a seemingly niche market, dismissing it with the notion, “Why gaming? Gaming is for kids!” However, upon delving deeper into the industry landscape and gaining a better understanding of its potential, I came to realise the underestimation of my initial assumptions. Gaming wasn’t just child’s play; it represented a lucrative and forward-thinking opportunity.

How has the business grown since it started and how did you ensure growth?

Back in 2010, we were a small group of individuals fuelled by grand aspirations and boundless ambition. Our collective vision? To establish ourselves as the premier destination for gamers seeking their favourite titles, initially through an online store. However, as the gaming landscape evolved, so did our strategy. We have recognised the emerging shift from physical game copies to digital downloads; we saw an opportunity to pioneer a new approach. While others remained fixated on traditional distribution models, we made a pivotal decision: instead of merely serving as a retail outlet, we opted to establish a digital marketplace.

Just to draw a broader picture: in 2010, when we initially launched G2A.COM as a conventional retail platform, nearly 70% of the market still relied on physical copies. By 2014, when we made the milestone transition to a marketplace format, that figure had plummeted to 39%. Fast forward to 2018, and it has decreased further to a mere 17%. Remarkably, by 2023, physical sales were a mere 5%, underscoring the total shift towards digital consumption. What allowed us to grow to the size we are today is something that in my opinion should be a foundation of our every decision. In order to become the largest marketplace in the gaming industry, we had to be on top of the game in six areas: price and range of offers, UX, payment options, security and support. I’m glad to say we do our best in every area mentioned, with many new innovations, like new categories on the marketplace, new UX designs or new offers for our users being implemented even now.

What’s the business’ approach to management?

People come first. A company isn’t built solely by its founders or CEO, it’s always a team effort. Business and entrepreneurship, in particular, are highly collaborative endeavours. You set the goal, devise a strategy, break it down into detailed action plans and choose the right people to execute them. As an inspiring leader, visionary captain, empathetic mentor and steadfast friend during challenging times, your role is never-ending. For me, there are six key factors in management, and they are all ingrained in our DNA.

The first one is accountability – people should know their area of responsibility and take ownership. They demonstrate their skill by how they perform and know when they fail. They put their hearts into work to reach the PRO level.

The second factor is value delivery – people appreciate quality while understanding the importance of moving forward. They prioritise and run projects that are most consistent with the main vision, caring about delivering projects with the highest return on investment at the same time.

Then comes growth – people should actively look for opportunities to be cutting-edge and always challenge comfort zones – to achieve greater things and excel in how they do them. They should inspire each other with their drive and passion to work.

A very important factor is trust – when people can rely on each other and be sure that their problem will be listened to. They build their own credibility by being honest with others.

Nothing is possible without the right communication, so giving and taking regular feedback. Don’t guess – just have the courage to ask. Don’t assume that you know – listen and respect various points of view, even if they are different from yours.

Last, but not least is team spirit – people should feel that they are part of a team, not just an individual. They must be ready to help and know that someday they may need help too. Celebration of the successes of others is an important part of business life. As well as embracing diversity and equality without judgment.

What is your company’s vision and goal?

Our vision is simple – we’re not just broadening our platform beyond the digital gaming realm, but we’re also unlocking doors to new adventures. We want to continue expanding and appealing to all audiences. We create a digital marketplace that is accessible, inclusive and secure for all. G2A.COM opens the Gate 2 Adventure in digital entertainment. We inspire and help to discover what’s out there in digital entertainment, we recommend what’s worth paying attention to or worth spending time on – digital entertainment is huge these days and audiences very complex and diverse. On the other hand, we create a safe environment for shopping and enhance the entire customer journey, ensuring the process is easy and friendly. We are on a mission to democratise digital entertainment and make it accessible for everyone regardless of age, gender, location or status, as well as empower them to grow and expand their potential in the digital world. It’s important to us that we stay faithful to the values that founded G2A.COM from our humble beginnings. We want to be a dependable and safe option for users. Our priorities remain having top-notch cybersecurity and competitive prices on our marketplace.

What has your career looked like so far?

Let’s begin with where I came from. Growing up in a not-wealthy family, in the grey post-communist reality of Poland in the early 90s and having no money in my pocket, it all started with motivation. When you are born in Poland and you fly to New York, Shanghai or New Delhi, you always hear this question; “Hey, where are you from?” You answer: “I’m from Poland.” And the reply from almost everyone is: “From Holland”? It’s relatively funny because I have been living in the Netherlands for a long time until recently. To our point, that was always very motivating for me to inspire others – people were not expecting someone running such a business coming from a country like Poland.

Being an entrepreneur has been my dream and my aim since high school, although there was a time when I was having a difficult time deciding between this career path and becoming a professional tennis player – ultimately, I decided to choose the former, though tennis remained my passion for life. I wanted to prove that there are no limits, and everything is possible. And then comes determination. Ever since I started as an entrepreneur, I have had a drive to achieve more and more. I was just hungry for success, for growth, for life. This hunger originated from exactly this kind of motivation I described here – I wanted to show people, to prove to them that no matter where you are from, no matter where you start from, you can achieve great success with enough motivation and personal growth. This is why I became an entrepreneur and throughout the over 20 years of my experience, I worked on setting up many companies in several industries. Before starting G2A.COM, I was managing a company from the steel industry, working as a insurance consultant or teaching how to play tennis. I was always looking for like-minded people, sharing the same values, to team up around the goal to achieve. You can start with no capital, in a post-communist country, in any industry – you can succeed. The awareness of new things to achieve to show people there are no limits keeps pushing me and my team every day.

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