Esports Company Cloud9 has reported that it sealed a $25 million round of series A financing. A portion of the financial specialists from the seed round have joined, including Founders Fund and the tech sponsor Bill Lee, who put in a joint venture with tech investor David Sacks.
The funding round has again pulled in financial specialists from the customary games world, such as Washington Capitals and Wizards co-owner Raul Fernandez; the Beverly Hills Sports Council; Michael Ovitz, the co-founder of talent and sports organization Creative Artist Agency; and World Wrestling Entertainment.
In addition to the funding, Founders Fund partner Brian Singerman will join Cloud9’s board of directors. WWE and San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence, who put resources into the seed round, will join as board observers.
“We have the support of terrific group of investors, whose expertise in sports and entertainment will help us focus on the next step in Cloud9’s journey to helping define the future of Esports,” said Jack Etienne, Cloud9’s co-founder and CEO, in a press release. “We will now invest in expanding across leagues, outfitting our training facilities and housing, and taking the entire organization to the next level.”
WWE is trying to make a push into Esports. Not long ago, it collaborated with gaming and media organization IGN Entertainment for a livestream event: WWE x IGN Esports Showdown.
“At WWE, we are constantly looking to innovate through our venture portfolio, and Esports is particularly exciting to us,” said George Barrios, the chief strategy and financial officer for WWE, in a press release.
The company looked for extra financing to pay the franchise charges that could add up to $30 million, as Cloud9 recently gained the London spot in the Overwatch League and allegedly was granted a place in the recently diversified League of Legends Championship Series.
“We didn’t really bring too much money into the company in [the seed] because we didn’t know what the franchise and entry fees were going to be,” Etienne told ESPN. “We didn’t know for sure which games we’d be a part of. It was a bit premature to have the sizable round that we ended up doing this time. It was always in the plan; even when we did our seed, we knew this was coming, and the timing was going to be around when we knew what the franchising costs would be depending on what we were looking at. That’s what brought this on.”