November Investment Recap: Crowd Equity Campaigns and Growing Esports Portfolios

The Esports Observer tracked 13 investments raised by esports-relevant companies during the month of November. Disclosed investments amounted to $306M USD, bringing the total sum of disclosed investments in 2020 to $6.44B.

Financial terms were not disclosed for any deals highlighted in this article.

Griffin Gaming Partners Raises $235M Towards its Gaming and Tech Fund

Santa Monica-based venture capital firm Griffin Gaming Partners raised $235M towards its gaming and technology-focused fund. The firm, which has a broad portfolio of gaming and technology companies, including messaging and VoIP platform Discord and recently founded real-time strategy game developer Frost Giant Studios, did not disclose any names of the limited partners it raised the investment from.

The VC firm plans to invest about half of its funds in gaming platform and infrastructure projects while focusing on content or game studios with the remaining funds. Griffin Gaming Partners is open to investing in a range of financing rounds from seed rounds starting at $1M up to later-stage financing rounds at $15M to $20M.

Immortals Gaming Club Receives Further Investment Led by Meg Whitman

North American esports company Immortals Gaming Club (IGC) raised a $26M financing round led by existing investor and IGC board of directors member Meg Whitman and her family office. Other investors that participated in the investment round include existing investors Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and March Capital Partners.

The company’s leadership revealed that it’s planning to use the investment proceeds to further grow its core esports brands. Furthermore, some of the funding will be invested in Gamers Club, which was acquired following IGC’s previous $30M investment round in May 2019, to push geographic growth, expansion of its game portfolio, and the addition of new products and services.

Fnatic Secures $10M Financing and Launches Crowd Equity Campaign

British esports organization Fnatic raised a $10M internal financing round led by Beringea. Further parties in the investment include existing investors Unbound, LVL1 Global, JHD as well as key management. The organization intends to use the investment proceeds to “support the global growth of its pioneering esports brand and drive the success of its leading high-performance teams.”

Furthermore, Fnatic launched a crowd equity campaign on Crowdcube with a minimum funding target of £1M GBP ($1.32M) in exchange for a 0.99% stake in the company, which puts the organization’s pre-money valuation at £100M ($132M). Pre-registered prospective investors raised 94% or £945K ($1.25M) of its target in a 24-hour timeframe before the campaign’s official launch. 

Fnatic, which recently closed its five-year strategic plan, intends to use the crowd equity campaign’s proceeds to accelerate some of the plan’s short-term targets. The organization expects to become profitable in 2023 with $3M in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) generated from $73M in revenues excluding prize money in that year.

Investments in Esports Organizations

Esports company ReKT Global added UK-based gaming influencer Vikram “Vikkstar” Singh Barn as a co-owner of its Call of Duty League franchise London Royal Ravens. In his new role as a forward-facing owner of the Call of Duty League franchise, Singh Barn will look to launch new content formats, merchandise, and promotional activations, and host esports competitions including independently operated ReKTGlobal tournaments.

Women-led gaming lifestyle company Queens Gaming Collective raised a $1.5M seed financing round led by BITKRAFT Ventures. The investment round was supported by a group of 12 additional investors consisting of entrepreneurs and women business leaders. Proceeds of the round will be “deployed into production, content, experienced human capital, and resources to support and foster our roster’s growth long term.”

Other Acquisitions

Dot Esports parent company, the Australian esports media network GAMURS Group, acquired gaming guides platform Pro Game Guides. The group’s CEO Riad Chikhani revealed that the acquisition was financed by GAMURS’ existing investors, including Aura Group. GAMURS is looking to make further acquisitions in the gaming space in the coming year to expand its current portfolio of six brands.

Computer hardware and peripherals company Corsair Gaming acquired esports coaching platform Gamer Sensei, which will become a subsidiary brand within Corsair, joining live-streaming equipment manufacturer Elgato, custom gaming controller maker SCUF Gaming, and custom gaming PC builder ORIGIN PC. The coaching platform previously raised $6.3M in two financing rounds in 2016 and 2017.

Toronto Stock Exchange Venture Exchange (TSXV) listed ESE Entertainment entered into an asset purchase agreement with Pedro Fernandes, the owner of esports organization K1CK Esports Club to acquire all K1CK assets for a price of $207.5K CAD ($160K. Fernandes will continue to operate K1CK, which was founded in 1998, once the acquisition has been completed.

British racing game developer and publisher Codemasters and Take-Two Interactive Software entered into an acquisition agreement by which Take-Two will acquire Codemasters for approximately $980M. If the proposed deal gets approved by shareholders and regulatory authorities, the acquisition is expected to be completed by Q1 2021.

Other Investments

British esports contracts and payment solution developer Edge Esports Ltd. raised a $1.5M financing round led by Blake Picquet, Green Egg Ventures, Game Tech Ventures, and Robert Reeg, all of whom will support the startup financially and strategically. The company plans to use the investment proceeds to improve its team infrastructure.

Gaming performance analytics company Statespace raised a $29M Series B investment round led by Khosla Ventures. The financing round comes only six months after the company closed a $15M Series A round in May, which was also led by Khosla Ventures. Statespace’s CEO Wayne Mackey explained that growth is currently the number one priority and a primary revenue channel is yet to be determined.

Danish esports tournament organizer BLAST raised a £1.7M GPB ($2.2M) investment from U.K.-based creative economy growth investor Edge Investments. The company plans to use the investment proceeds and Edge Investments’ network to “accelerate its international expansion and optimize its production capabilities while bolstering its broader UK operations as it looks to further tap into the nation’s strong media talent pool.“ The funding was facilitated through Edge Investments’ £40M ($52.8M) Edge Creative Enterprise Fund, which is partially backed by the British Business Bank.

Live-stream advertising network StreamHERO raised a $550K pre-seed financing round led by seed stage-focused venture capital investment fund Adventures Lab. The Kyiv-based company intends to use the investment proceeds to “introduce new monetization tools for streamers, additional analytics and ads performance improvements, as well as new ads formats for brands, including integrations with ad exchanges and networks.”

British esports and gaming job platform Hitmarker launched a crowd equity campaign on Crowdcube with a minimum funding target of £200K GBP ($266K) in exchange for a 4% stake in the company, which puts the organization’s pre-money valuation at £4.8M ($6.38M). In case the campaign overfunds, it is capped at a maximum of 12.04% equity sold. The campaign is scheduled to close on Dec. 19.


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