One of the most prominent U.S. esports organisations, FaZe Clan, have announced a USD $40 million Series A investment, to support its expansion, player acquisitions and operations.
FaZe Clan CEO, Lee Trink, said the financing round was led by entrepreneur and record executive Jimmy Lovine and the team at NTWRK, an e-commerce and culture platform.
“We started raising in late 2018 and we actually closed this round in December 2019,” Trink said.
“We were planning on announcing in January and when COVID-19 happened, that got delayed.
“We had some lawsuits (Turner “Tfue” Tenney sued the team in August 2019), which was a difficult situation to raise money under as potential traditional investors will use that to push down your valuation and talk about risk.
“While that wouldn’t be unreasonable, it isn’t really looking at the full picture of FaZe,” he said.
Trink, who was the former president of EMI’s Capitol Music Group, explained the investment “was raised sorts of friends and family-style.”
Further investors include NBA players Meyers Leonard, Josh Hart and Jamal Murray, musicians Offset, Pitbull, Swae Lee, Yo Gotti, DJ Paul and Ray J, actor Chris O’Donnell, Epic Records chair and CEO Sylvia Rhone, music industry veteran Troy Carter, radio host Kurt “Big Boy” Alexander, talent manager Guy Oseary, American production duo Disco Fries, and former Dutch soccer player Gregory van der Wiel.
“It’s much harder to have the vision to see what the business will become,” Trink said, discussing the FaZe Clan brand and the esports ecosystem.
“People of cultural relevance, who really understand how culture moves are the people that FaZe Clan resonated with, people that live in that space, that can translate what a cultural wave really means.
“That is why you have those people as our investors,” he said.
As part of the investment, lead investor NTWRK entered an exclusive creative partnership with FaZe for apparel distribution rights and production, a deal Trink said “was not a long-term relationship, but we turned it into long-term licensing in conjunction with them.”