PlayBrain closes $6 million Series A funding round

Japanese esports event organiser PlayBrain announced a $6 million (£4.8 million) Series A financing round.

The round included return investor BITKRAFT Esports Ventures and brings PlayBrain’s total funding since launch to $8 million (£6.5 million). BITKRAFT’s investment amount was not disclosed.

Mike Sheetal PlayBrain
Photo credit: PlayBrain

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PlayBrain is a full-service esports tournament and media company in Japan that helps brands and game publishers to reach gamers and fans through large-scale esports event production and marketing.

In addition to the Series A funding, PlayBrain announced that Buddy Marini, Founder and CEO of manga subscription service Mangamo, has been appointed to the advisory board. Marini has held a number of entertainment industry roles including MD of Supercell Japan and CEO at Hulu Japan.

The company is in its second year of its partnership with Riot Games for the League of Legends Japan League (LJL). PlayBrain also works with publishers and brands including Activision Blizzard, EA, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Twitch, Supercell, Alienware, and Intel. PlayBrain also recently soft-launched, an esports content media platform.

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Mike Sheetal, Founder of PlayBrain, commented on the funding round in a release: “Although the Japanese esports market had a late start in comparison to the rest of the world, the esports market in Japan is expected to grow 250% over the next four years. We are proud to play an integral role in establishing and building the esports market in Japan and helping it gain more ground in the global esports industry.”

The investment will be used to grow Playbrain’s footprint, expand into additional esports and entertainment properties, and “double down” on its support on leading the creative direction, operation, and commercialisation of LJL.

Malte Barth, Founding General Partner of BITKRAFT, added: “We not only saw the momentum and growth of the Japanese esports market as a whole but also witnessed PlayBrain’s instrumental role in establishing the esports-ecosystem in Japan. We are very excited to be backing the next phase of growth with this financing and our active support.”

Esports Insider says: Despite being home to some of the top game publishers and console manufacturers in the world, Japan has taken longer to adopt esports on a large scale. That is now changing, and the Japanese government is now fully invested (£2.15 billion, anyway) in stimulating the economy through esports. PlayBrain is definitely growing in the right place at the right time.

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