Esports social media startup eFuse has raised $6m (~£4.28m) in post-seed capital funding, with the round led by the Ohio Innovation Fund and a number of professional athletes.
Notable athlete investors include Odell Beckham, Jr. and Denzel Ward of the Cleveland Browns, Seth Curry of the Philadelphia 76ers, Ezekiel Elliot of the Dallas Cowboys, and Chase Winovich of the New England Patriots.
The additional funding follows the startup’s initial investment round of $2.3m in November 2019, which was also led by the Ohio Innovation Fund.
Touting itself as the ‘LinkedIn for Gamers’, eFuse allows users to set up an account and network with other individuals and organisations in the gaming industry ranging from pro players and influencers to marketers, game developers, and more.
The startup is expected to use these new investment funds to fuel product development, user acquisition, and make key hires as the startup progresses toward profitability in 2021, the company said.
eFuse CEO Matthew Benson commented in a release: “eFuse is redefining how gamers network. Gamers communicate and showcase differently than traditional professionals and need a purpose-driven platform to help them find the right opportunity. At eFuse, we’re committed to helping all gamers get discovered.”
Since launching in January 2020, over 500,000 users have created accounts on the gaming-focused social network. Alongside connecting esports users together, the site features scholarships, internships, and job postings in various areas of speciality.
Bill Baumel, Managing Director at the Ohio Innovation Fund, which led the funding round, added: “eFuse is tackling esports’ discovery and diversity problem head-on. We see only growth opportunities as eFuse applies its funding to meet the opportunity and define the ‘networking for gamers’ segment.”
Odell Beckham Jr., NFL wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns and investor noted: “eFuse is a platform unlike any other for the esports and gaming community. Their unique and dynamic approach to building this community and matching talent with opportunity is original and forward-thinking.”
According to the press release, the funding will also help launch new products, expand its original eRena events, and market its brand to continue user growth.
Esports Insider says: In traditional sports, there is a clear path to recruitment in a variety of positions. The gaming and esports industry borrows a few of these elements but has largely had to ‘wing it’ over the years. Having a gaming industry-focused social network could offer many creative ways to discover and pursue career options.