A UK eSports start-up has raised an eye-watering $19 million as it plots global expansion.
London-based Fnatic is one of eSports’ most successful franchises, having won more than $8m in prize money since launching in 2004.
With a staff of 90 – 50 of whom are competing gamers – the company is launching a 10,000-square-foot training facility in London and also has facilities in Berlin and Kuala Lumpur.
Fnatic founder Sam Mathews is to return to the CEO role, with current CEO Wouter Sleijffers stepping down, while former Mercedes F1 boss Nick Fry has been appointed as chairman. Affectv founder Glen Calvert is the new COO.
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Entrepreneur Lev Leviev of LVL1 Group joins the board after leading the funding round, which included participation from Beringea, BlackPine, Unbound and Joi Ito.
“eSports is the future of entertainment as well as one of the most dynamic and exciting emerging industries out there,” Leviev said.
“Fnatic has established itself as a driving force both on the competitive stage and as a global business in eSports, I’m excited to be part of the next chapter as Fnatic scales into a global lifestyle brand.”
The team will launch its brand into Asia and North America and also launch new product categories into its existing hardware range including a new audio headset.
“We are now seeing a large number of global brands entering the world of eSports and capitalising on the wealth of opportunities it presents,” Fry said.
“With Fnatic’s heritage, experience and fanbase, we are able to offer a direct route for these brands to unlock key audiences in millennials and Gen Z. The future holds infinite possibilities for Fnatic in this exciting time.”
Fnatic has six million followers across its channels and has hired sports psychologists and trainers to assist its gamers’ performance.