NBA stars Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala have stepped into the esports world, joining a group of investors to raise capital for esports organisation Swift and its League of Legends franchise Team SoloMid.
US venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners is running the Series A funding putting in US$25 million of its own capital, with expectations to raise US$37 million.
Curry and Iguodala join a long list of investors including Steve Simon, the son of Indiana Pacers owner Herb, and former National Football League (NFL) player Steve Young, as well as Twitch chief strategy officer Colin Carrier, Australian telco Telstra, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures, Yifang Ventures and Walter Wang, the chief executive of JM Eagle.
The pair will join fellow Golden State Warriors teammates Kevin Durant and Jonas Jerebko as investors in the gaming space.
Team SoloMid was founded by 26-year-old chief executive Andy Dinh, who has featured in every League of Legends World Championship to date.
Its commercial partners include non-endemic brands such as Geico, Gillette, Dr. Pepper and Chipotle.
Forbes reports that his team plans to use a chunk of the fresh capital to build a player training complex in Los Angeles, with the remainder of the funds going towards further investments, acquisitions and franchising fees.
Commenting on his rationale for the investment, Ethan Kurzweil of Bessemer Venture Partners told Forbes: “It was just really clear Andy was operating at the highest level.
“What he had done without any capital at all was two or three times as much as people who had raised a lot of money.”