Challengermode receives $12M investment from Alibaba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

26 August 2020


Swedish esports platform Challengermode has secured a $12 million (£9,132,180) investment led by Alibaba investment arm eWTP Innovation Fund.

The capital will be used to “enable further growth, international expansion and accelerated monetization” for the platform.

Challengermode Investment Alibaba Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Credit: Challengermode, Getty

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Additional contributors to the investment include Telia Ventures, GP Bullhound, Back in Black Capital, and Swedish professional footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Challengermode wants to help brands, content creators, and developers to “reach, engage and monetize their target audiences” through esports.

Robel Efrem, Co-founder and CEO of Challengermode, spoke on the investment in a release: “We are very excited to close this new financing round with the support of a strong set of investors who share our vision for esports. With the additional backing we’re able to double down on our core mission of delivering the best competitive gaming experience to each and everyone’s home, in any game.

“Our promise to the esports industry is that we will – regardless of player ability or experience – provide a platform that enables anyone to participate in esports. That means going beyond just making tournaments easy to host to creating a fun and inclusive community.”

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Challengermode is eyeing an expansion into North America to grow its user base and enhance its opportunities for monetisation. Ibrahimovic first invested in Challengermode in March 2017.

CY Chen of Joyme Capital added: “We are delighted to bring Challengermode into eWTP’s portfolio. Its position as a leader in the rapidly growing esports market makes it a great fit for us. Since the company launched in 2014, it has continued to achieve significant milestones in terms of growth, product development and customer acquisition. We are looking forward to continuing to support the management team in successfully building, developing and growing the business to its full potential.”

Esports Insider says: It’s a good sign to see Ibrahimovic further his investment in the company, showing a sign of faith in what it has in store. Monetisation is a big challenge for many in esports so it’s great to see Challengermode prioritising it now, presumably after seeing an uptick in its user base throughout the pandemic.

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