Esports Gaming League taps ‘Series A’ Funding, pre-money value GBP5.5m 

By Roger Aitken – With eSports revenues projected to reach USD1.8 billion worldwide by 2022 and seeing a robust CAGR of 22.3 per cent, the Esports Gaming League (EGL), an agency providing a platform for gamers to enter tournaments across multiple games on a global basis, has launched a ‘Series A’ funding valuing the business at around GBP5.5 million (cUSD6.7 million) on a ‘pre-money’ basis.
 

Led by John Barker, a former EMEA head of block-crossing firm Liquidnet in The City, EGL’s campaign is using crowdfunding platform Crowdcube and aims to raise funds to support future international expansion of the UK-based firm. The proposed share issue is also “likely to qualify” for Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax relief, which is currently set at 30 per cent, EGL understands from the HMRC.

 
Esports or electronic sports – where players compete against through video games – can be traced back as an industry to the first Atari Space Invaders World Championship held in 1980. Having virtually lurked in the shadows back then, today its trajectory is on the up and competitions are being played out in some iconic stadiums.
 
The bulk of industry revenues, which were estimated at USD1.1 billion for 2019 (source: Statista) are acccounted for by sponsorships and advertising, with the remainder from betting, prize pools, tournaments, ticket sales and merchandise. With Asia as a market accounting for close on half of all industry.
 
EGL, which creates what it describes as “authentic esports campaigns”, has developed its own-brand esports technology platform (own IP) and competitive tournament system. Built from scratch by gamers for gamers, it enables grassroots esports players through to professional gamers to take part.
 
The crowdfund, which runs for a minimum of 30-days through Crowdcube, authorised and regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, has raised investment from over 250 investors so far and set an initial fund target of GBP300,000 (cUSD366,000). Representing equity of 5.17 per cent in the business, it puts EGL’s ‘pre-money’ valuation at GBP5,505,770 (c.USD6.72m).
 
John Barker, chairman of Esports Gaming League and XSeries Retro, says: “We are seeking fundamentally to enhance our tournament platform further and will be allocating part of the investment being raised to make the process of playing and competing easier.”
 
The serial entrepreneur, who in addition to having worked for Liquidnet in the EMEA region for a decade has held a non-executive directorship at ITI Capital, adds: “By working with games developers to have deep-rooted integration within titles from mobile to the biggest games on the market, our initiatives will help them make their games e-sportable.”
 
Effectively the business provides a service to game developers, publishers, brands and marketing agencies with a turnkey solution for esports campaigns. From start to finish creating and executing a strategy for esports that allows companies to offer an authentic esports marketing play, but without the day-to-day operations in house.
 
EGL has a history and track record of delivering live events, streaming and TV production together with content to brands and publishers alike. To date it has some 335,000 registered users and its blue-chip client base includes Arsenal FC, Microsoft and RedBull. Previous investment in the business come from the likes of BBH London and advertising pioneer Sir John Hegarty.
 
With EGL’s business having already witnessed significant interest and growth since being launched, according to Barker, a life-long QPR football fan, this crowdfund initiative  could potentially “pave the way” for future rounds.