Co-Owner Kokhanovsky steps down from ESforce

Alexander Kokhanovsky, ESforce

One of the largest companies in esports ESforce has some big news this week with the announcement that one of its co-owners, Alexander Kokhanovsky, will be stepping down. 

Kokhanovsky is reportedly planning on focusing on developing his own projects, which includes recruiting platform DreamTeam. The platform is focused on becoming the key recruitment and management network for esports and gaming, and towards rthe end of 2017 it partnered with ESL ahead of IEM Oakland. Back in October we spoke to Kokhanovsky about this partnership and the wider plans for DreamTeam, which includes blockchain technology. 

A press release from ESforce noted that ‘neither this project nor Alexander Kokhanovsky’s other activities are in any way connected to the ESforce esports holding and its other shareholders’.

Of his decision Kokhanovsky said: “Over the past two years, we’ve managed to build ESforce Holding, which has become a clear leader in the Eastern European and CIS market, as well as one of the strongest players in the global esports arena. For me personally, this has been an invaluable experience, which has helped towards starting one of the most ambitious projects in esports, DreamTeam.

“This is what I’m fully focused on at the moment, and in order to avoid a conflict of interest when working with professional teams, players and tournaments, I have decided to withdraw as an ESforce shareholder. A decision of this sort is a good example of business ethics in esports which will benefit the entire esports community. I’d like to thank everyone on the ESforce team for their colossal efforts and incredible resolve to create the coolest project out there; USM Holdings, for wise advice and help in complex situations; and, of course, all our partners who’ve helped us make this journey.”

Prior to becoming a co-owner of ESforce, Alexander Kokhanovsky was the founder and general manager of Natus Vincere, better known as Na’Vi. With him at the helm, Na’Vi’s CS:GO roster enjoyed considerable success, as did the org’s Dota 2 team. The Ukrainian organisation has also launched rosters in the likes of League of Legends, FIFA, World of Tanks, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, StarCraft 2, and Paladins.

Back in 2015, Anton Cherepennikov and Alexander Kokhanovsky teamed up to start ESforce Holding. In July 2016, ESforce Holding acquired the media and advertising sales rights to Natus Vincere; but later in November 2017, there was a mutual agreement which saw the rights related to Na’Vi reverted to Kokhanovsky’s Zero Gravity Group.

Anton Cherepennikov, Co-Owner, ESforce Holding stated: “I’m grateful to Sasha for his years of work, his passion for esports and his contribution to the development of the holding and of Russia’s and CIS’s esports market in general. I fully support his decision to pursue his own projects from now on”.  

ESforce is a holding company based in Russia which integrates a number of areas across the esports industry. This includes organising international tournaments via Epic Esports Events such as Epicenter which just received major status for its upcoming Moscow event, content creation to publishing and advertising activities across numerous sites, as well as online retail sales of esports-themed merchandise via Fragstore. ESforce also owns Arena Moscow, an esports venue at 5,000 sq metres  Billonaire Alisher Usmanov is the principal owner of the holding, while Anton Cherepennikov is the Managing Partner.

Esports Insider says: This is big news for one of esports’ largest companies. Kokhanovsky was there at the company’s formation and has played an integral part in its staggering growth to date. At a time when esports as an industry is on a clear upward path this decision from the Ukrainian is a little surprising, but also is a clear statement of intent regarding his new DreamTeam project.