Esports

Step into the venture capital esports industry — where competitive gaming meets digital innovation.

A global arena of opportunities

The Esports industry is developing by leaps and bounds. The COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to its rapid market expansion. A surge in global online viewership, tech advancements, and a promise of long-term revenue growth made it a lucrative place for esports investors.

Why it matters:

The industry is brimming with various opportunities for esports startups to seize:

  • Localized tournaments: creating regional and local esports leagues to cater to gamers and fans of different levels
  • Training and coaching: creating gaming platforms and services to enhance gamers’ skills
  • Merchandising: selling esports-related items like team jerseys, accessories, etc
  • AR and VR: integrating VR and AR for a more immersive experience

Between the lines:

Navigating the esports landscape is a double-sided sword: the industry is ripe with opportunities but riddled with challenges to overcome, like competition, legal and monetization issues, etc.

With vast experience helping eSports startups, our Waveup expert team knows what makes companies succeed and shine for investors

$2B+
Secured in funding
600+
Startups boosted
80+
Industries spanned

What we do:

We assist in securing the necessary venture capital, creating persuasive and insightful esports pitch decks and solid business models, and pinpointing the most beneficial M&A opportunities.

Go deeper:

Look through our esports market research to discover the latest trends, key industry insights and challenges, and the cheat codes to attract investment.

2X growth
The Esports market size is set to double, hitting $8.1B by 2032.

 

$1.4B
In 2022, the total esports revenue comprised $1.384 million.

Driven by a surge in online viewership and an increasing popularity of competitive gaming
532M+

In 2022, the eSports audience reached over 523M people.

5.4M

People watched the Free Fire World Series Singapore in 2021.

$40M

Is the prize won by an esports team.

VENTURE LANDSCAPE

In 2022, the esports startups secured $3.10B in funding

Key verticals:

  • Platform development
  • Game development
  • Event and tournament organizers
  • Content creation and media

Leading esports venture capital firms

Write to us to know more

Challenges on the way of Esports startups

The huge market and investor potential comes with a set of hurdles.

Rising audience:

Stats: the number of eSports enthusiasts is expected to reach almost 286M within the next year, contrasted to 197M in 2019.

Why it matters

If the viewership increases, the competition becomes more intense. And here is why:

  • Growing sponsors’ interest: Esports events and platforms become more attractive for advertisers and sponsors willing to invest.
  • Higher stakes for content quality: A larger audience brings higher expectations. Thus, esports companies need to innovate and improve non-stop.
  • Audience engagement initiatives: esports should introduce such initiatives if they want to keep the growing user base engaged.

The surge in viewers drives companies to up their games, forge profitable partnerships, and strive to distinguish themselves in a saturated market.

Regulatory compliance:

The eSports industry is relatively new and thus not well regulated.

Why it matters

Esports companies operate across various regions, each with a unique set of rules. Plus, with the pace of tech advancements, it may be hard for the authorities to stay updated. This situation may lead esports companies into the so-called gray zones, increasing the risk of non-compliance and the lure to cheat.

A case in point: in 2022, two men from Australia were accused of match-fixing and are still under investigation. They may get up to 10 years in jail.

Thus, Esports regulatory mazes may lead not only to financial penalties and reputation damage but also to legal issues.

Monetization hurdles:

Balancing monetization strategies and user experience is pivotal. Esports startups must find a way to make money without overloading players with too many ads.

Why it matters:

Failure to effectively monetize may lead to:

  • Financial instability
  • Decreased user engagement
  • Customer loss

What it takes:

  • Creating various revenue streams: like freemium models, sponsorships, in-game purchases, etc;
  • Integrating non-disruptive ads: startups need to enhance rather than hinder players;
  • Valuable player offers: companies must make sure gamers receive genuine value for their money;
  • Strategic business models: a well-devised business plan along with a robust go-to-market strategy makes the process of monetization easier;
  • Powerful pitching: leveraging insightful and persuasive esports pitch decks can attract more esports VCs and partners, propelling your business growth.

Fundraising race:

The eSports industry is gaining momentum. It means that the audience rises as well as the investor interest. VCs see eSports as a sustainable industry rather than a trend or a bubble worse than crypto. That’s why they are eager to pour resources into eSports projects.
Yet, securing funds is not a cakewalk. Regulatory risks, competition, and the hesitation of some investors make a fundraising game challenging.

What it takes:

  • A robust business plan to demonstrate how esports startups are going to generate revenue and become profitable.
  • An impeccable esports pitch deck to present the startup’s goals, vision, and direction.
  • A strong team to show the potential investors that people working on this project have the experience and expertise to execute their business plan.
  • Being involved in the esports community to reach out to investors directly at various industry events.

FAQs

How attractive is the industry to potential venture capital esports investors?

The esports industry is a magnet for investors. It’s seen as a promising and profitable industry as the market growth potential is huge, and the audience is large and engaged. Plus, it has high margins and prospects for global expansion.

If you are an esports startup, how easy is it to raise funding today?

Surely, it’s way easier to attract the necessary funding today than it was a couple of years before. Yes, investors are taking more notice of the industry’s growth potential. Yet, some VCs are still concerned about the sector-related myths, like a risky venture or a trend that won’t last long. Plus, regulatory uncertainty and competition.

How long does it take to create a pitch deck and financial model for an esports startup?

Usually, our team needs from two to three weeks to finish the documentation. However, sometimes we may need more time in case we have lots of projects and the project itself requires more attention. That’s why it is better to contact us to know the exact time needed.

What are the key mistakes esports startups make in their pitch decks?

Many esports startup pitch decks skip the ‘why’ behind their market choice and lack a clear business strategy and proof of progress. Plus, they either drown investors in too much information or miss the essentials, leaving VCs unsure and uninterested.

How competitive is the esports market?

The esports market is highly competitive. Rapid market growth attracts new blood, multiple revenue streams add more aspects the companies compete on, and high barriers to entry make it hard for newcomers to stand out among numerous established players.

What services do you provide for investors looking to invest or already investing in esports?

We assist VCs in evaluating their investment opportunities within the esports industry. We conduct thorough due diligence and present findings in a concise, visually rich presentation packed with valuable insights. Plus, we ensure comprehensive fundraising services to portfolio companies across the esports sector and beyond.

Do you provide esports M&A support?

Sure! Our team is pinpointing esports M&A opportunities, seamlessly guiding you through every step—from the initial deal search and valuations to comprehensive due diligence and post-deal collaboration.

Do you make intros to esports VCs?

Absolutely! We help link you up with the right esports venture capital firms. By assessing your project’s team setup, round size, and product, we’ll guide you in partnering with investors throughout the entire deal and beyond.

Do you have available data or research to purchase on the esports market?

Yes, we do! Our comprehensive esports market research includes industry reports, competition analysis, etc. We use only reliable data sources to collect the most relevant information for you, such as the industry’s challenges, market trends, and competitive dynamics.

Which growth stage of companies have you worked with in the past?

Our team offers growth and fundraising help to esports startups at every stage of their growth journey, from the Pre-Seed stage all the way through to Series C and beyond.

Have an Esports
project in mind?
We are here to help

From end-to-end fundraising support to M&A advisory and growth hacking, Waveup will help catapult your esports project to new heights. Leave your email, and let's talk!

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