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For the month of November, The Esports Observer logged 11 esports industry investments. Several teams raised additionals funds and esports organization Misfits Gaming Group launched a $10M USD esports and gaming incubator and seed fund. Furthermore, Artist Capital established a $100M esports fund and RedBird Capital put $125M towards licensing NFL and MLB players’ commercial rights.
Following two months that saw more than $200M in disclosed investments, The Esports Observer tracked $343M in disclosed investments in the esports industry.
This marks the second-highest amount in 2019 after July’s $556.63M in disclosed investments. Financial terms were not disclosed for all deals highlighted in this article.
RedBird Capital Invests $125M to License NFL and MLB Players’ Commercial Rights
To help athletes maximize the value of their name, image, and likeness rights, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) partnered with venture capital firm RedBird Capital Partners and launched OneTeam Partners.
RedBird Capital invested $125M into OneTeam Partners and holds a roughly 40% stake. The players’ associations own the remaining ~60% stake.
Gaming and esports assets are part of the licensing deals. The two players associations earn roughly $120M in combined annual revenue from licensing deals with companies including Madden NFL publisher Electronic Arts and MLB The Show publisher Sony.
Artist Capital Management Establishes $100M Esports Fund
Investment management firm Artist Capital Management LLC announced it had raised $100M to establish its first fund, the Artist Esports Edge Fund. With the Esports Edge Fund, the firm seeks to provide institutional investors with exposure to esports companies.
The Artist Esports Edge Fund’s current investment portfolio includes 100 Thieves, a Los Angeles-based lifestyle brand and esports organization; Washington Esports Ventures, owner of the Washington Justice franchise in the Overwatch League; as well as undisclosed chatting and viewing apps in the ecosystem.
In addition to the funds going towards the Esports Edge Fund, the firm also raised $35M of incremental capital from its undisclosed limited partners in separate co-investment vehicles. Those funds were all deployed in 2019 to further support Esports Edge Fund portfolio companies.
Developers Fund New Projects and Technologies
Game developer Super Evil Megacorp closed a $10.5M financing round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz to develop its next game, “Project Spellfire,” a cross-platform title that has yet to be detailed. Furthermore, the developer has passed development duties of Vainglory on to a partner studio.
The streaming technologies developer Genvid Technologies raised a $27M Series B financing round led by New York-based Galaxy Interactive. Additionally, all of Genvid’s existing investors (March Capital Partners, OCA Ventures, Makers Fund, and Horizon Ventures) and new investors (Valor Equity Partners and K5 Global) participated in the investment round. Proceeds of the investment will be used to accelerate the company’s development of interactive streaming tools and services.
The video conference gaming developer Bunch closed a $3.85M second Seed financing round from investors, including Supercell, Tencent, Riot Games, Miniclip, and Colopl Next. This funding brings Bunch’s total investment sum raised to $8.5M.
Esports Organizations’ Investment Activities
Misfits Gaming, Florida Mayhem, and Florida Mutineers parent Misfits Gaming Group launched the $10M esports and gaming incubator and seed fund MSF.IO. According to the fund, it is looking to “provide a pathway for innovators to nurture and grow ideas that will help evolve the esports and gaming industry.”
French esports organization Team Vitality raised a $15.5M second funding round from Indian technology entrepreneur Tej Kohli’s Rewired.GG gaming fund. Moreover, the organization opened its new esports complex in Paris called “V.Hive,” which includes office space for the company, a public gaming center, co-working space, shop, and cafe.
Following an initial $3M Series A investment, EVOS Esports added to its now $4.4M Series A investment as it looks to seize the market of gaming influencer management in South-east Asia. The initial $3M funding was backed by Insignia Ventures Partners, while the most recent $1.4M came from a group of angel investors from Indonesian conglomerates, as well as from the top-level management of a leading e-commerce player in China.
The Overwatch League franchise Houston Outlaws was acquired by the Beasley Media Group from the Immortals Gaming Club. The Outlaws will remain in Houston and represent the Houston, Austin, and San Antonio areas. Beasley’s acquisition of the Outlaws marks its third venture into the esports space with investments in Renegades, a multi-team esports organization; and CheckpointXP, a weekly syndicated lifestyle show which was the first collegiate-based esports show in the U.S.
Rogue parent company ReKTGlobal added to its list of celebrity investors. Landon Collins, a safety for the Washington Redskins and five-season NFL veteran, invested into the organization. According to a release, Collins and ReKTGlobal plan “strategic integrations and partnerships” during the NFL offseason, and he will also help with the company’s continued expansion.
Performance sponsorship data platform FanAI secured an $8M Series A financing round led by Japanese business conglomerate, Marubeni Corporation, to support FanAI’s continued expansion and growth. Further investors participating in the funding round include Allectus Capital, CRCM Ventures, Courtside Ventures, GC Tracker Fund, M Ventures, Sterling.VC, and GFR Fund. The funding brings the company’s total raised capital to over $12.5M.
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