Telstra Ventures was recently announced as taking part in a $US37m ($AU49.97m) capital raise by Team Solo Mid, following a recent uptrend in esports investments globally, with over $US2b raised so far in 2018.
How does that compare to what we’re seeing here in Australia & New Zealand? While most community veterans will tell you that we’ve been slowly catching up to the US in terms of development and professionalism, current estimates would say there is still a five-to-eight-year gap.
Leading the numbers game, Esports startup GAMURS posted a $AU3.5m capital raise last year alongside previous impressive raising efforts, followed by the audacious $AU4.41m raise by ASX-listed company, Esports Mogul Asia Pacific Limited.
In addition to these funding success stories, the continued performance success of David Harris’ Guinevere Capital teams and select other ventures such as Gfinity Australia or Lets Play Live New Zealand, many esports startups in this region are seeking an Angel or Seed Investment relationship.
Recent years have seen sporting teams such as The Adelaide Crows & Essendon Bombers pick up their own esports teams, sitting alongside investments from others with significant commercial and sports experience such as Bastion Collective joining forces with Avant Gaming in 2017. The partnerships drawn here will likely prove to be as valuable as any cash injection that may have been given.
Much of esports business in this region is currently spearheaded and grown from grass-roots by those with significant industry experience but can be lacking commercial, business or enterprise knowledge. One strategy that is taken to increase business success in this region is to marry the grass-roots industry knowledge of esports experts with the prowess and experience of investors or partners, who can lend a helping hand on the commercialisation aspect in a sports or services business.
While not all esports startups in Australian & New Zealand are seeking or limited to Angel and Seed Investment, there are many potential gaps in the current ecosystem that could be filled by taking a chance on a coachable, passionate and knowledgeable industry member-lead business. If a hands-on investment is what you’re looking for, it may be worth your time doing some research of your own.
It is also pertinent to note that there is much more to esports than just teams and leagues, however, they have received a large amount of investor focus throughout 2016 – 2018.