Esports data platform GRID has announced a $10m (~£7.28m) Series A funding round, with NFL player JuJu Smith-Schuster investing in the firm.
Alongside Smith-Schuster, ‘industry leaders’ behind Alinea Capital, Bumble Ventures, and Tar Heel Capital Pathfinder took part in the firm’s funding round, as well as ‘leading investors in the gaming, iGaming and tech industry’.
According to the release, GRID’s investment will be used to strengthen its US expansion plans. The data platform first expanded its services in the US last year and played a major part in the first-ever esports wager in New Jersey. GRID will also be responsible for powering America’s first esports-only sportsbook in Colorado.
This isn’t the first time that Smith-Schuster has delved into esports. In October 2020, the Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver launched his own gaming organisation Team Diverge.
Moritz Mauer, CEO and Founder of GRID, commented: “2020 proved to be a massive growth year in the gaming and esports industry and for our company. We saw wide adoption of our technology across the most renowned players in the ecosystem, and with it, our coverage of esports events and roster of clients grew exponentially.
“We are in a unique position to leverage technology to standardise esports data by embracing the digital nature of the sport and do so in alignment with rights holders in the space such as game publishers and tournament operators.”
Since being founded in 2018, GRID has secured a multitude of data partnerships with tournament organisers such as FLASHPOINT, WePlay Esports, ESforce Holding and the Drone Champions League, among others.
Prior to the funding round, Agileo Ventures and Tar Heel Capital Pathfinder were already investors in the data platform.
Arkadiusz Seńko, Managing Partner of Tar Heel Capital Pathfinder, added: “GRID’s pioneering technology unlocks the new commercial potential of esport data. It is a game-changer for teams, tournament organisers, and game publishers.
“We are proud to have been GRID’s partner from the very beginning and we are excited to further support the team in creating a sustainable future for the esports market.”
Similarly to its previous funding rounds, GRID collaborated with sports and entertainment M&A firm Astero Partners. Moreover, legal teams at Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliff assisted GRID, whilst Poellath and DLA Piper helped existing shareholders and new investors.
Esports Insider says: This is GRID’s biggest investment to date and considering the firm’s growth over the last 12 months, it’s no surprise to see this amount of funding announced. As stated prior, proper data distribution is crucial for esports, whether that be to strengthen integrity, adding to broadcasts, or for esports betting. A lot of investors have clearly identified this and so it’ll be interesting to see how GRID expands in the near future, particularly in the states.