Will Smith invests as Gen.G announce $46m funding round

Global esports organisation Gen.G has today announced a $46 million (£35 million) round of funding which sees investments from actor Will Smith’s and Japanese soccer player Keisuke Honda’s Dreamers Fund.

Will Smith and Keisuke Honda are just two those who invested Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The round also includes investment from Los Angeles Clippers minority owner Dennis Wong, former Chairman of US Investments Alibaba Group Michael Zeisser, and MasterClass Co-Founder and CEO David Rogier. Additionally, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Conductive Ventures, Battery Ventures, Canaan Partners, SVB Capital, and Stanford University have all invested. 

Former AC Milan and Japan midfielder, Keisuke Honda, said “I am excited that Dreamers Fund, the fund that I co-launched with Will Smith, is now investing in Gen.G. Esports is not yet big in Japan, but we are seeing tremendous growth there and globally, which is very positive. We decided to invest in Gen. G because of their incredible team and grand vision to become a leader in the space. We truly look forward to working with Gen.G to boost the esports industry around the world.”

The capital will go towards supporting the ongoing expansion of Gen.G’s global footprint, which already includes teams in the world’s top esports leagues across the US, China, and Korea. Additionally, it will contribute to the development of Gen.G’s youth esports academy program and the launch of Gen.G’s Los Angeles headquarters opening in July 2019.

“We decided to invest in Gen. G because of their incredible team and grand vision to become a leader in the space”

“We are grateful for the support of a remarkable group of investors that is as diverse as the future of esports itself,” said Chris Park, CEO of Gen.G “Our partners in this round share Gen.G’s mission to reimagine sports entertainment as only an authentically global esports organisation can.”

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has also been named as Gen.G’s banking partner. SVB worked closely with Gen.G executives behind the scenes to find the right investors and counsel on all matters of the fundraising. SVB and Gen.G will also be working together on a variety of upcoming events and content in 2019 and 2020.

Gen.G Seoul exterior

Arnold Hur, Chief Operating Officer at Gen.G, revealed: “This is an incredible step for Gen.G and the vision we have for the organisation.

“With the support of our new investors, we’re excited to bring several priorities to fruition including our LA headquarters, our continued expansion into China, our always evolving player development academy programs and a big priority for us in 2020, which is hosting Dynasty matches in Seoul! There is a lot of work to be done, and we are very proud to have these investors on our team.”

Esports Insider says: Gen.G now joins the likes of G2 Esports, Team Liquid and TSM who have all had successful funding rounds. Gen.G have managed to bring onboard a plethora of diverse investors including Fresh Prince and family-friendly rap icon,Will Smith. With successful esports teams already secure in Overwatch and League of Legends, there is no doubt that Gen.G will now be setting its sight on a Call of Duty franchise slot for next year.