TNL eSports Startups 008: Gumbler Grabs $5.5M For Real Money eSports


TNL eSports Startups 008: Gumbler (Photo: The Next Level)

TNL Take: The Market Opportunity between Gaming, eSports, Casinos and Gambling is enough to make any Venture Capitalist salivate.

The risks are clear though.

Just ask the Legal team for DraftKings/Fanduel or Valve with it's massive PR mess around Counter-Strike Gambling.

This week the UK Gambling Commission brought its first prosecution against Craig “NepentheZ” Douglas and Dylan Rigby, who have been charged with promoting a lottery and advertising unlawful gambling site which used FIFA Coins.

Even with that, Venture money continues to flow into the space. Last week I wrote about Real Money platform Rumblemonkey which launched publicly after raising an angel round.

Yesterday, Swedish startup Gumbler announced a $5.5M investment for their Real Money skill based gaming platform.

TNL eSports Startups 008: Gumbler (Photo: Gumbler)

Gumbler claims players of the Mobile game Mad Skills Motocross 2 have won a total of €650,000 in 2016 with an average revenue of €45 per paying player each month.

TNL eSports Startups 008: Gumbler (Photo: Gumbler)

Gumbler is not just looking at Mobile as an exclusive platform with upcoming PC support.

Interesting to also note that Gumbler VP Simon Sunden is the former Head of eSports at MTGx, the company that invested in ESL.

Finally, what is in the water in the Nordics?

Over just the past two months, I've covered four Nordic eSports investments:

Sweden: Znipe Raises $1M

Sweden: Strife Raises $1.5M

Sweden: Team NiP Worth $12.5M

Finland: Critical Force $4.5M


Winter maybe coming in the North but eSports investment is heating up.


OK. I even hate myself for that line.

TNL eSports Startups 006: Critical Force Gets $4.5M Seed For Mobile eSports

TNL eSports Startups 006: Critical Force

TNL eSports Startups 006: Critical Force (Photo: The Next Level)

TNL Take: According to my data, about half of you are reading this right now on a Mobile device.

I'd guess half of you had your phone within ten feet of where you woke up today.

In rapid transition, the PC revolution was trumped by the Internet, which in turn led to the massive Mobile revolution - of which all could be beaten by VR/AR.

A Mobile eSports title is no longer a question; it's just a question of time.

eSports was definitely a motivating factor for the world's largest Gaming company, Tencent, to buy a controlling stake in Mobile developer Supercell at a $10B valuation.


Yesterday, Finnish Gaming developer Critical Force announced a €4M ($4.5M) seed round from South Korean company NHN for Mobile eSports.

TNL eSports Startups 006: Critical Force (Photo: Critical Force)

This is also the third Nordic eSports investment in the past month following Sweden's Znipe and Strafe.


NHN is one of those typical Asian tech companies that have their hands in a few different pies: Search portal, Mobile Games, Online Mall, a Video Camera, etc.

However, NHN has one key infrastructure piece which makes total sense for Critical Force:


A Line Store In Japan (Photo: Fast Company)

Line, a messaging App similar to WhatsApp or KakaoTalk, is massively popular in Japan beating Facebook for users.

This provides a great potential Mobile eSports platform.

With the definition of "Necessity is the Mother of Invention", Line was actually developed by NHN engineer's in response to the 2011 Japanese earthquake that destroyed communication infrastructure. That's a damn good Minimal Viable Product.

If you're going to try and establish Mobile eSports; Gaming/Phone/eSports obsessed South Korea and Japan wouldn't be a bad place to start.


And maybe the Japanese know something about making a Mobile game popular.