Esports investment report: $61.6m committed in January 2021

Disclosed esports investment in January was considerable — albeit lopsided.

According to Esports Insider’s calculations, around $61.6m (~£44.84m) of disclosed investment was committed in January 2021 — most of which came from solutions provider VSPN raising $60m (~£43.7m) in its latest funding round. This month, however, important news stretched beyond just accumulative investment figures.

Here is a short breakdown of last month’s key investment news. 

VSPN receives $60m in latest funding round

Credit: VSPN

In its last two funding rounds (Series B and Series B+), the latest of which closed last month, Versus Programming Network has raised a total of $160m (~£116.53m). 

The company is now backed by investors such as Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holding, Prospect Avenue Capital, Guotai Junan International, and Nan Fung Group, among others. The company also acquired Banana Gaming & Media last month for an undisclosed amount. 

The most recent investment is expected to go towards creating technologies in esports production, and ‘deepening the layout of esports IP trends and operations’. 

Allied Esports sells World Poker Tour, explores options for esports business

Photo credit: World Poker Tour, Allied Esports

Allied Esports is ‘exploring strategic options’ for its current esports business after selling the World Poker Tour to investment group Element Partners last month for $78.25m (~£57.35m). 

As of January 20th there had been no ‘initial or ongoing’ negotiations to sell the esports business. ESI reached out to Allied Esports for an update on potential negotiations. The company had nothing new to share. 

According to an official release, if Allied Esports sells its esports business, the company will continue under a new name.

Nations Ventures invests in HYPR CARRY

Photo credit: Nations Ventures / Hypr Carry

Nations Ventures, a venture capital fund majority-owned by We Are Nations, has invested in Australian influencer merchandise and media company HYPR CARRY.

Details of the amount invested in HYPR CARRY have not been revealed. However, the funding will be used help establish a wholly-owned US subsidiary, HYPR CARRY USA, LLC. 

Mobile Premier League raises $500K through employee investments

mobile premier league mpl
Image credit: Mobile Premier League

Indian esports and mobile gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) announced last month it has raised $500,000 (£364,200) as part of its Employee Investment Plan. 

Existing employees could acquire stock in MPL by investing anywhere between $2,300 (£1,675) and $23,000 (£16,754). According to a release, over 10 percent of MPL employees participated in the plan.

In September 2020, MPL announced an ESOP buyback plan worth $3.2 million during its Series C funding round, which resulted in funding of $90 million (£70.4 million) from SIG, RTP Global, MDI, Sequoia India, and others.

Dolphin Entertainment acquires esports and gaming agency B/HI

Credit: Dolphin Entertainment

North American marketing and content production company Dolphin Entertainment, Inc. last month announced the acquisition of entertainment agency B/HI. Financial details of the acquisition have yet to be disclosed.

B/HI will operate as a division of Dolphin Entertainment’s subsidiary, PR firm 42West. Some of the B/HI’s past and present esports clients include Immortals, Super League Gaming, Team Liquid, and Tempo Storm.

Esports sponsorship analytics firm Cavea raises €1m

Credit: Cavea

Esports sponsorship and audience analytics firm Cavea has raised €1m (~£902,361) from new and existing investors, including additional support from The Danish Growth Fund (Vækstfonden).

The investment is expected to ‘consolidate and expand’ its product offering, grow its team, and allow Cavea to focus on commercialisation.

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