Cloud 9 Raises Funding From Athletes and Pro Sports Owners

CLOUD 9 RAISES FUNDING FROM ATHLETES AND PRO SPORTS OWNERS

Cloud9 Owner Jack Etienne On The Right (Photo: Activision)

TNL Take: eSports team Cloud9 funding round from a slew of investors across the Sports and Tech world finally is public.

As I mentioned in December, Cloud9 raised $2.8M based on an SEC filing but the investors weren't disclosed.

I predicted for a while now the San Francisco 49'ers would invest in a team/athlete - but they haven't, instead investing in Plays.tv - Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Elon Musk could be potential investors.

I was pretty damn close.

Here are the Sports and Tech community that invested in Cloud9:

  • San Francisco Giants Athlete Hunter Pence
  • Tesla Board Members
  • LA Dodgers Co-Owner Todd Boehly
  • Former San Francisco 49ers Joe Montana
  • NBA Athlete Andrew Bogut
  • Golden State Warriors Co-Owner Chamath Palihapitiya

A few things.

First, congrats to Jack and the entire Cloud9 team for this funding. I only wish the best for eSports team owners and the hard work they've put in over years.

Here's what has and what has not been reported.

The LA Times wrote the story with the following headline with my Tweet addressing it:

My Tweet About Cloud9 (Photo: Twitter)

Probably a coincidence but the new headline is:

LA Times Changed Headline For Cloud9's Funding (Photo: LA Times)

Based on the vast number of investors and the amount raised - these are more likely small investments across the board.

Why do I say this? Because I have Cloud9's term sheet. I won't reveal the pre-money valuation as it's confidential.

While a consortium of Pro Sports owners and athletes (axiomatic) bought Team Liquid, the Dodgers invested again with their Co-Owner Todd Boehly.

If you still don't believe that traditional sports and eSports will eventually merge, there are way too many investments to not believe at this point.

I still raise the question about why an NFL team hasn't invested directly but I think I know why.

Yesterday, I spoke with NFL athlete Ricky Lumpkin for The Next Level eSports Guest Podcast and he offered his thoughts. Currently being mastered by Metro Boomin and will be out next week.

TNL eSports Guest Podcast 004 With Ricky Lumpkin (Photo: The Next Level)

There are only a few teams left in the US that have strong teams across a slew of games, experience and owners that know how to manage.

 

Investors, time to get that checkbook out.

Plays.TV Raises $15M From 49ers, Net's Jeremy Lin

TNL ESPORTS STARTUPS 009: PLAYS.TV RAISES $15M FROM 49ERS, NET'S JEREMY LIN

TNL eSports Startups 009: Plays.TV Raises $15M From 49ers, Net's Jeremy Lin (Photo: The Next Level)

Plays.tv Game Video Highlights (Photo: Plays.tv) 

Plays.tv has a Windows client that enables game capture and the ability to share highlights via their platform or various social networks. They also have partnerships with AMD Gaming and Team Dignitas, who are owned by the Philadelphia 76ers. Outside of highlights, the software is also being used by pros for replays and to review their gameplay.

Plays.tv was founded by gaming veteran Dennis Fong (eSports Athlete, Guinness World Record holder, started Raptr) and has a long history in the space.

But I'm shocked that Plays.tv was able to raise $15M.

Not only does Plays.tv have competition with other game highlight startups like Forge, Vibby, Oddshot, Liveshot, and Leet - there's Twitch's own Clips product.  Further, I don't see Plays.tv currently monetizing but integrating video ads won't be difficult if they get scale.

This maybe a case of the VC mantra of "invest in founders/team" but it will be interesting to see how Plays.tv and their competition grow with continued market fragmentation across eSports broadcasting.

Cloud 9 Raises $2.8M

CLOUD 9 RAISES $2.8M

eSports Team Cloud 9 (Photo: Cloud 9)

TNL Take: If you still don't believe that Pro Sports and eSports will provide a symbiotic relationship, here are 20 examples.

Now we can add some more big names to the list.

According to an SEC Filing found via TheScore eSports, Cloud 9 has raised $2.8M and looking for $3M total.

Now the investors weren't disclosed but I'm going to make a guess.

Blizzcon 2016 (Photo: John Stephens)

Who's in that picture above at Blizzcon 2016?

  • Patriots Owner Robert Kraft
  • Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick
  • Rams Owner Stan Kroenke
  • Cloud 9 Owner Jack Etienne

Coincidence?

I'm guessing not.

Back in July in The Next Level 032, I predicted these NFL teams would be the next to invest in eSports:

Excerpt from The Next Level 032 (Photo: The Next Level)

My guess on a few that invested in Cloud9 - The Kraft's and Elon Musk

Every other large North American eSports team owner is very happy right now.

Australian PE Firm Buys eSports Team LG Dire Wolves

AUSTRALIAN PE FIRM BUYS ESPORTS TEAM LG DIRE WOLVES

Guinevere Capital Buys Controlling Stake In LG Dire Wolves (Photo: Guinevere Capital)

TNL Take: Now that the influx of eSports and Pro Team's investments have started, this is only just the beginning across a multitude of sectors.

Australia joined the eSports Investment party last week when Melbourne based Private Equity firm Guinevere Capital bought a controlling stake in local team LG Dire Wolves.

This investment is a bit curious though.

LG Dire Wolves aren't that big and tiny compared to the likes of Dignitas (76ers) and Team Liquid (aXiomatic). They currently only have a League of Legends team with some previous experience with Smite.

The team did recently sign a deal with LG Electronics hence the name.

LG Australia Signs Dire Wolves (Photo: LG Dire Wolves)

There's also very little info on Guinevere Capital - the website just has their logo.

Guinevere's Managing Director David Harris has a traditional Sports background in Cricket, Rugby and Football.

My guess as to why LG Dire Wolves? Local and inexpensive.

LG Dire Wolves joins other eSports teams like Immortals and Team EnVyUs with VC/PE investment.