Fnatic announced it has secured $19 million USD in Series A funding. The investment round was led by tech entrepreneur Lev Leviev of LVL1 Group with new and continued support from investors including transatlantic VC firm Beringea, BlackPine, Unbound and Joi Ito.
With this investment, Fnatic will enter the next phase of its global expansion, strengthen involvement in tier-one leagues, including the League of Legends European Championships, launch new product categories in its esports equipment subsidiary including a new audio line, as well as scaling up resources to deliver and deploy marketing efforts and reach for brands on an international scale.
To support the company’s rapid growth, a new leadership team is being appointed. Former Mercedes AMG F1 Chief Executive Officer Nick Fry is named Chairman, serial entrepreneur and founder of Affectv Glen Calvert is appointed COO and Fnatic’s founder, Sam Mathews, set to retake the CEO position.
Lead investor Lev Leviev said “Esports is the future of entertainment as well as one of the most dynamic and exciting emerging industries out there. 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.”
“This is a pivotal moment in the evolution of Fnatic. I am incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 15 years and now is the time to build on this strong foundation to realise our vision of being the leading global esports brand. To have such high caliber investors is telling of the potential they see in Fnatic and our future,” added new CEO, Sam Mathews.
The latest round of investment will be used to structure the company for further expansion into Asia and North America, continue to partner with the most forward-thinking global brands and to cement its position as the leading lifestyle esports organisation globally.
Razer Signs on as New Evil Geniuses Partner
Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today announced a new partnership with Evil Geniuses (EG), one of the longest-running professional esports teams with a worldwide fan base. This marks Evil Geniuses’ return to Team Razer just as their Dota 2 team qualified for The International 2019 tournament. The EG Dota 2 team has been the most consistent in averaging top five finishes in the last five outings of the intense tournament.
Evil Geniuses will be outfitted with Razer’s esports-grade peripherals including headsets, keyboards, mice, and surfaces (mouse mats) for all training and tournaments over the next two years.
Evil Geniuses is well-known for their premier Dota 2 and Call of Duty (COD) teams, and also has teams competing in Fortnite, Rocket League, Rainbow Six: Siege, Artifact, Smash Bros., and Street Fighter V. Their major achievements include winning The International 2015 Dota 2 Championship and Call of Duty World League Championship 2018. Their Dota 2 team recently placed third at the MDL Disneyland Paris Dota 2 Major and is in top form going into the upcoming The International 2019 tournament.
“Team Razer is proud to partner with Evil Geniuses at the highest level of esports. We are always inspired by their passion and commitment, and our partnership will be fueled by the best of esports technology and skills.” – David Tse, Global Director of Esports, Razer
The EG Dota 2 team features a pair of star esports athletes: Artour “Arteezy” Babaev is an Uzbekistan-born Canadian with over half a million livestream followers. Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan, the Pakistani esports prodigy, became the youngest player to win The International Dota 2 Championship and the youngest to surpass $1 million in esports winnings at the age of only 16. When this year’s The International tournament kicks off in August and Team EG takes on some of the world’s best Dota 2 teams in their fight for another trophy, all eyes will be on them and their teammates.
EG’s COD team features a duo of two-time Call of Duty World Champions, Jordan “JKap” Kaplan (2015, 2016) and Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov (2016, 2018). They are the only two players to have made an appearance in three consecutive Call of Duty Championship Grand Finals, with JKap also holding the record for most grand finals appearances out of any COD player (four). Rounding out the 5-man squad is another Call of Duty World Champion, Dillon “Attach” Price, who is the youngest player ever to win a COD Championship (2015, at the age of 18).
“The partnership with Team Razer adds incredible value,” added Phillip Aram, COO of Evil Geniuses, “Razer’s high-performance gaming devices are top-tier and give our players a new performance edge. Razer is the perfect brand with which to enjoy continued success and to compete for a repeat win at The International.”
Have you used Razer products? What do you think of this partnership? Tell us in the comments!
Lenovo Announces North America Partnership with eSports Team SoloMid
Today, Lenovo North America announced a local partnership with Team SoloMid (TSM). The partnership is Lenovo North America’s first official esports sponsorship, and the investment will further enhance the company’s focus on the gaming industry.
As the exclusive PC partner of TSM’s teams and organization, Lenovo will outfit a revolutionary, state-of-the-art, gaming lounge for players inside TSM’s new 25,000 square foot training facility, currently under construction in Los Angeles. With Lenovo’s support, TSM’s players will not only be able to train and work toward competing at the highest level possible, the organization’s content team will have access to the technological tools necessary to produce world-class content. The Lenovo Legion Lounge will feature sleek, high-performance Lenovo gaming PCs, complete with immersive visuals and audio. The company will also host exclusive TSM events and giveaways throughout the year.
“With the esports audience projected to surpass NFL viewership and reach 276 million by 2022, Lenovo is excited to partner with a veteran team that helped to elevate the popularity of esports in the U.S.,” said Matt Zielinski, Lenovo’s President of North America, “We understand the tremendous growth potential of this market, and this partnership is a great complement to our investments in bringing professional-grade gaming experiences to avid players around the world.”
For more than a decade, TSM has fielded some of the most talented and successful professional esports teams in North America, competing across multiple titles such as League of Legends, Fortnite, Smash Brothers and Rocket League. In addition to its elite players, TSM has one of the largest, most engaged fan bases in esports with nearly 80 million followers across multiple platforms, and a network of gaming sites that boasts over 180 million page views a month.
“For TSM, partnering with Lenovo was simple,” says Andy Dinh, Founder and CEO of TSM. “Lenovo Legion is best in class when it comes to PCs that are optimized for gameplay. It’s important that we believe in the brand and products we partner with, and I want to make sure our players, and our audience, are using the best hardware possible. TSM focuses on excellence, and we only partner with the best. Lenovo’s history of a commitment to high performance and quality aligns with TSM’s vision for the future—not only for our teams, but our entire organization.”