The competitive side of eSports has shown impressive growth over the past few years, with a number of publishers paying attention to big-name tournaments, and competitions coming to other mediums, including television.
One company that’s heavily invested in eSports is Unikrn, a company that has launched a new eSports platform alongside Tabcorp that’s set to tap into the audience of over ten million gamers across 100 countries. We previously spoke with the company’s CEO and co-founder, Rahul Sood, in this interview, but today, it’s upped the stakes with the announcement of new investors coming aboard.
Unikrn has announced that it has raised an additional $7 million through a number of high-profile investors, bringing its overall funding to over $10 million. Binary Capital is one of the key investors in the group, led by Jonathan Teo and Justin Caldbeck, along with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Advancit Capital, Freelands Group, 500 Startups, Indicator Ventures, Tabcorp and others.
Through this investment, Unikrn will continue its push into the popular eSports industry. A number of big-name tournaments have drawn massive audiences both in person and online, including the 2014 finals of the League of Legends World Championship, which drew 27 million people.
Binary Capital is the big name here, as that company has invested in a number of other socially based channels, including Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, along with others. “Working with Jonathan and his team has been an experience to say the least. They have helped us pivot at the beginning, and they always refer to us as ‘we’ even before they pulled the trigger. They’re an incredible partner with vast consumer branding and eSports experience, ” said Rahul Sood, CEO and co-founder, Unikrn. “And, with the help of our other amazing investors, our vision of bringing safe and legal wagering on eSports to consumers around the world is now well within our grasp.”
“Millions of people watch competitive gaming globally, we believe the industry has hit an inflection point and this is just the tip of the iceberg for where this new sport can go,” said Jonathan Teo, Binary Capital. “We fully believe in the Unikrn executive team, what they are building, and their vision of how they want to heighten people’s engagement with eSports across all mediums.”
“Hundreds of companies every year try to get me to invest, whether on Shark Tank or off camera. However, I only put my money and my name on the companies that I feel will be successful, truly advance an industry and have a leadership team that I respect. Unikrn fits all these requirements,” said Mark Cuban. “The rapid growth of eSports has created an entire new category of competition and I am proud to partner with Rahul Sood and his team to help bring eSports to an even greater audience. As a sports fanatic and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, I’m excited to be involved with a new sport just as it’s poised for huge growth.”
Unikrn will have a continued investment in eSports, seeing how its growth isn’t about to slow down anytime soon. In a couple of months, Valve will be hosting its DOTA 2-driven International tournament in Seattle, with millions of dollars being offered as a grand prize.
Speaking exclusively with [a]listdaily, Sood stated, “We never would have guessed 6 months ago that we’d be sitting here today. The looks on some people’s faces when we told them that there are as many fans of eSports as there are the NHL was always entertaining. Unikrn raised 10 million dollars in total, we formed an exclusive partnership with one of the largest and most respected publicly traded betting companies in the world, we hired an amazing team, built an MVP, and launched in multiple countries. We get calls from VCs almost every day, and we’re backed by some of the brightest investors and business people on the planet. Imagine what the world will say when they see Mark Cuban backed an eSports company. It’s time for us to show the world what eSports is all about, and we only just started 7 months ago.”
As far as the company’s growth is concerned, Sood added, “We will be investing heavily in product development, we’re also hiring a head of marketing — looking for a growth hacker type to lead our marketing efforts. Of course we’ll also be spending some money on marketing, but we know that our investors will help us carry our story and amplify it globally.”
Those interested in Unikrn’s coverage of eSports can learn more about it here. It’s certainly going places.