2017 US Esports Startups Raised ~$200M

Discord ($50M): Messaging, chat and game integration with ~100M users. Basically Slack/Skype for gamers

Skillz ($25M): Mobile esports platform

Super Evil Megacorp ($19M): Publisher of mobile esports game Vainglory

Super League Gaming ($15M): Organizes esports events and leagues within movie theaters

Plays.tv ($15M): Game highlights and social sharing platform

Smash.gg ($11M): Esports tournament organization platform

Underworld Esports ($10M* Estimated): Portland based esports team

Sliver.tv ($9.8M): 3D/VR live streaming platform for esports

Wavedash Games ($6M): Game publisher with upcoming esports title

Gamer Sensei ($4M): Esports coaching platform

Gawkbox ($3.7M): Monetization tools for streamers

Guilded ($3.2M): Esports team management platform

Maestro ($3M): Enterprise live streaming monetization and data collection

Haste ($3M): Network performance for esports

Genvid ($2.5M): Esports interactive broadcasts

FanAI ($1.8M): Esports audience monetization platform

Taunt ($1.75M): Esports fan competition platform

Matcherino ($1.5M): Crowd funded esports prize pools

VY Esports ($1.5M): Platform bridging esports, media companies and brands

Foundry IV (Undisclosed): Esports game developer

 

As expected, the majority of investment was West Coast based with 12 of the 20 investments taking place in California.

Content and image – copyright TNL

Kairos Media acquires esports brand Lightning Pandas

Social media focused digital communications agency Kairos Media has announced its acquisition of esports outfit “Lightning Pandas”, which was co-founded by Michael Craddock and Call of Duty pro Shane ‘ShAnE’ McKerral.

Craddock is also a co-founder of Kairos Media, and the acquisition marks Kairos’ entry to the esports business, using the Lightning Pandas brand for their activities in the space. Lightning Pandas has actually been dormant for the past three years, although the brand was previously a well-known Call of Duty team that got some attention through YouTube and bold branding.

To kick things off, Lightning Pandas have signed Sean ‘Dragonn’ Allen, a professional FIFA player who has previously donned digital studs for West Ham United as their first-ever FIFA player.

Allen said in a statement: “I couldn’t be happier to join the Lightning Pandas and become their first esports player. The experience, resources and knowledge of the company presents me with an invaluable opportunity to progress as a player and build my online presence. This is a massive move in the right direction for me and I’m really excited for the future.”

Allen is one of the better known FIFA players, especially in the UK, although his star has waned recently, Allen failed to qualify for the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) this year but did coach Unilad’s winning player, Spencer ‘Gorilla’ Ealing, who shared the winning moment with Allen on the stage.

Regardless of performance, Allen is still a hugely popular and well known figure in the UK FIFA scene, with a popular Twitch and Youtube following.

Rahul Uppal, Kairos’ esports manager, added in the press release:  “Following their three-year hiatus, we’re excited to announce the official return of the Lightning Pandas. While most people will recognise the Lightning Pandas as the creative offspring of Mike and Shane, we’re now in a strong position to take the organisation to the next level.

In addition to this, we’re delighted to welcome a player of Sean’s calibre to the Lightning Pandas, who does not only share the competitive ambitions of the company, but also our vision for the future.”

Pro Sports Owner Jeff Vinik Close Out Super League’s Series C Round

Nickelodeon, DMG Entertainment, SoftBank ISAT, and Pro Sports Owner Jeff Vinik Close Out Super League’s Series C Round with $15 Million


Entertainment, Media and Sports Titans Drive $28 Million Total Invested Since 2014 Founding of Leading Esports Gaming Platform

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – June 29, 2017 – Super League Gaming, the global community platform that offers accessible esports competitions, content and social interactions for amateur gamers, today announced that it has received $15 million in Series C funding from Nickelodeon, a division of Viacom, DMG Entertainment, a SoftBank-managed fund, Toba Capital, Cali Group and multiple traditional professional sports team owners including Jeffrey Vinik, owner of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, and aXiomatic, a premier esports entity backed by professional sports and media leaders. To date, Super League has raised more than $28 million, with earlier participation from investors including Cinemark USA, Inc., ET Capital and Quadrant Management.

“Esports is exploding in popularity around the world, but the current landscape is lacking an open, easy access point for aspiring gamers and enthusiasts to connect and participate,” said Ann Hand, CEO of Super League Gaming. “With our online and live in-person events, we’re leading the way in bringing gamers into esports in a safe, fun and socially rewarding way. Our city-based clubs add a sense of belonging and fandom currently missing from esports.”

Founded in 2014 with its initial offering of Minecraft events in movie theaters for kids, Super League has now hosted more than 30,000 kids in friendly competition over six seasons of play. In November of 2016, Super League expanded its offering by introducing the world’s most played video game, League of Legends, to its competitive events series in partnership with Riot Games. There has been one season of League of Legends intercity tournament play, with the second season launching online in July in 12 markets across the United States.

“We are excited to enter the world of esports through our relationship with Super League, which has a loyal and growing fan base of kids,” said Matthew Evans, Executive Vice President of Digital and New Business, Nickelodeon. “Nickelodeon is interested in esports because gaming is an important passion point for kids today, and forging this partnership with Super League puts us at the forefront of where kids will be playing next.”

“Fans worldwide are ravenous for esports, both as spectators and players.  No one is better than SLG to bring organized amateur esports to the biggest markets in the world,” said Dan Mintz, CEO and Co-founder of DMG Entertainment. ”We are excited to partner with SLG and expand its footprint globally.”

Super League pioneered the way for accessible esports competitions by introducing City Rec and City Champs, establishing the structure and model for amateur esports rooted in one’s locality. These city-focused teams mirror the benefits of traditional sports teams and bring gamers together in a way never before possible. The Chicago Force will be defending the title for the second season of League of Legends City Champs, while the reigning Minecraft City Champs are the LA Shockwaves.

“In my career in professional sports, the most exciting thing is the energy and enthusiasm that fans show for their city’s teams,” said Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “Go to any Super League event, and you will see the same energy of players and fans cheering for their city’s team that we see in the NHL.”
To learn more about Super League Gaming:

About Super League Gaming
Super League Gaming (www.SuperLeague.com ) is the world’s first, biggest and most accessible esports league for gamers that takes place both online and in-person gaming arenas. Our community building platform enables unique, local gaming experiences for players around the world of all ages and levels to experience recreational and competitive gaming, content creation and sharing, and social networking.  Super League has pioneered city teams in esports tapping into gamers desire for more connectedness and the inherent desire to represent and root for their home team. Our current catalogue focuses on Minecraft and League of Legends and establishes movie theatres as the ultimate arenas to experience some of the world’s most popular games in a new and social context. The current offering focuses on amateur esports in local, intimate gaming arenas, but the potential offers and venues are boundless.

University of Leicester and global esports company

University of Leicester to offer unique esports course to help students gain experience in the video games industry

 

Partnership between University of Leicester and global esports company ESL UK to provide students with valuable insights into esports business

The University of Leicester is partnering with the UK arm of global esports company ESL to develop a unique course to help students gain valuable insights into the esports industry.

The course, which is the first of its kind, will help students to gain knowledge in developing services for esports, giving them hands-on access to data and intelligence from esports specialists to provide them with a unique advantage in gaining employment in the sector.

Jeremy Levesley, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Leicester Department of Mathematics, who is leading on the development of the course, said: “People learn best when at play, so now more than ever, developing the use of games as a medium for learning is of paramount importance. Esports is a very important component of this, as it becomes more popular around the world.

“I am hoping that students will gain commercial awareness of the esports business model, which is one of the fastest growing parts of the gaming economy.”

ESL, a part of the international digital entertainment group MTG, is the world’s largest esports company, leading the industry across the most popular video games with numerous online and offline competitions.

James Dean, managing director of ESL UK, said: “As the esports industry grows in the UK, we are keen to establish an ecosystem that is sustainable for the future. A key component to this is training and attracting talent to the number of roles the esports industry provides. The course outlined by the University of Leicester is very exciting for students looking to join the esports industry and we are delighted to support it.”

 

More information about the Master’s degree, entitled ‘Data Analysis for Business Intelligence’, which will feature the new module, is available here: https://le.ac.uk/courses/data-analysis-for-business-intelligence-msc