According to Goldman Sachs’ esports investment 2018 report, we saw $1.4 billion ($1.07bn) invested into the industry last year – a 90% year-on-year increase. In fact, since 2013, there has been over $3.3bn of venture capital investment within esports-related startups. One of those investing in the esports landscapes has been New Wave Holdings Corp. Founded in 2018 with New Wave Chief-Executive Officer, Tolga Onuk, New Wave hopes to become the first publically traded esports investment company. You can read more about them here.
To find out how they are hoping to achieve this and what they look for before investing in an organisation or IP, we caught up with Chief Marketing Officer, Daniel Mitre.
ESI: Hi Daniel, could you please introduce yourself, explain your current role and tell us how you got involved in esports?
Dan Mitre: I started in the gaming industry about 16 years ago with my first gig in the Quality Assurance team for Vivendi Universal. One of the main games we were testing was F.E.A.R. That experience gave the foundation to understanding how games are developed. From there I moved into Community Management and held positions at THQ, Sega, and most recently Electronic Arts where I got to work with incredibly passionate communities who gravitated towards AAA titles like Saints Row, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Battlefield, respectively.
With my background in gaming and my need to feed my competitive nature, it was natural to crossover into esports – an industry that’s absolutely exploding worldwide. Our team here at New Wave Holdings Corp. is highly in-tune with the esports and competitive gaming landscape and takes pride in our ability to navigate the opportunities for our soon to be shareholders when we take New Wave Holdings corp public.
“We look for organisations that can benefit from the synergies we offer within our portfolio”
ESI: What do you look for in a team or organisation before investing in it? When do you know if it is a good fit for New Wave?
DM: When evaluating companies and products that are seeking investments we first and foremost look for teams that are ethical and professional. The gaming and esports industries take pride in our ability to create inclusive environments that welcome a diverse group of players and fans alike. Secondly, we look for organisations that can benefit from the synergies we offer within our portfolio, whether it’s assistance in taking their marketing efforts to the next level or opening opportunities to attract new audiences. Finally, we strategically place investments that build portfolio strength that will benefit everyone under the New Wave umbrella and ultimately benefit our soon to be public shareholders.
ESI: Do you regard esports teams (broad sweeping statement here) as a valid and sensible investment right now? We’ve just seen $46 million invested into Gen.G for example, with Will Smith amongst the investors, what do you think of the current state of esports team valuations?
DM: Oh, I’m very aware. That’s exciting! I’m thrilled to see big money, and huge voices move into esports. This benefits the industry, and everyone in it as every success grows esports worldwide. As more support comes in, we will see more market penetration, placing esports as a household term used synonymously with entertainment and new career opportunities for passionate players, fans, and professionals. With large capital coming to fund single teams, it will be important for these organisations to allocate their resources to allow for durability as esports continues to grow exponentially in North America.
“When evaluating companies and products that are seeking investments we first and foremost look for teams that are ethical and professional”
ESI: Which areas of the esports industry are you most focused on and looking at?
DM: As an investment company focused on esports and competitive gaming, I’m not necessarily pointing my laser as anyone specific sector. It’s important for New Wave to build a diverse portfolio that offers an economically stable base, but also allows for crossover promotional and resource opportunities for our companies. So, an intentional mix of teams, leagues, organisations, platforms, tools, event logistics, and more is key to growing with the industry.
ESI: New Wave’s first investment in an organisation was Tiidal Gaming. Talk us through why you invested into them, the process and vision.
DM: The initiative that Charlie Watson, CEO of Tiidal, and his colleagues have built has been an incredible investment! Charlie is first and foremost a gamer, and I like that quality in a professional who also knows how to build a sustainable business. His vision behind Team Lazarus and Tiidal is one that resonates with New Wave’s goals and visions. They are looking to innovate the esports industry with exciting branding, entertainment that speaks to a diverse audience, opening opportunities for esports athletes that were once only dreams, and build a powerhouse that provides a vehicle for new advancements in esports.
ESI: You’ve currently invested in three Canadian IPs, are you looking to keep investing in North America, or will you look further afield at European and Asian markets too?
DM: Currently, we have investments in 3 companies: Tiidal as aforementioned, PlayLine.com which is a daily fantasy sports platform founded by UFC Champion Michael “The Count” Bisping and Roy Hibbert, and Even Matchup Gaming (EMG) who brings the largest Super Smash Bros. tournaments to the Toronto and Tristate scenes. All three have been great to work with, and we’re excited to see their continued growth. Additionally, we have a full acquisition of Thunderbolt Studios under our belt – our tools and platforms development arm.
Our next step is to invest and/or acquire a US-based company that holds the same values and goals as New Wave. We want to get our home continent rolling in full steam as we plan for global expansion.
We are proud to be partnered with @PlayLine, the preferred daily fantasy sports App founded by our friends UFC Champion @bisping and @Roy_Meets_World. https://t.co/LAFe8XrHWr #fantasysports #app pic.twitter.com/KfxmnhFecR
— New Wave Holdings Corp. (@newwavehc) April 17, 2019
ESI: You mention on your website that you ‘will become the first publicly traded esports and competitive gaming investment company in the world’. How do you plan to achieve this?
DM: Yes! We are on track to be one of the world’s first publicly traded esports and competitive gaming investment companies. With our strategically built portfolio, we will complete the RTO we are in the current process of. By doing so, this will list New Wave on the Canadian Stock Exchange (CSE) effectively allowing esports fans, gaming enthusiasts, investors, and the public to own shares and benefit alongside our growth.
“We are on track to be one of the world’s first publicly traded esports and competitive gaming investment companies”
ESI: What are some of the current pitfalls when investing in esports?
DM: As an investment company, we have to keep a keen ear to the ground and listen to the landscape. In any budding industry, there will be trends and movement that may not have the proper legs to whether through sector growth. Fortunately, esports has been around for quite some time in Asia and Europe, which gives us a rich set of data to pull insights from. One must be careful in placing investments, using their experience in their industries and using empirical data to inform them of how to best place capital.
ESI: Do organisations with associated strong esports and social media influencers sway your decision to invest with them?
DM: The beauty of the internet and social media, our interconnected lives via digital mediums, allows for real-time listening and insights, better guiding our decisions to invest or allow for more growth in a company before deploying capital. If communities are actively for or organically promoting a thriving company or team, I want to know why and how we can get involved. If gaming communities are upset and frustrated in a product or organisation, we also what to know why and how we can help them through their challenges.
ESI: What are New Wave’s goals for 2019?
DM: Growth and sustainability! 2019 is all about introducing New Wave to the world with a strong group of teams and products behind us. As stated before, our portfolio will allow us to set an initial valuation of New Wave’s potential as we take the company public, then continue to grow the portfolio by placing key investments in areas of esports and gaming that will benefit our shareholders.