Esports Insider announces shortlist for $25,000 The Clutch start-up competition 

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Esports Insider is thrilled to announce the four businesses that have made the shortlist for ESI London’s edition of The Clutch, a live pitch investment competition open to esports-related startup companies.

Mouseskins, Protest Labs, Versus Gaming and Challenger Project are the successful finalists that will have the opportunity to pitch for a share of the competition’s $25,000 (~£20,500) prize fund, courtesy of Overwolf. The Clutch in front of leading industry professionals at ESI London 2022, on day two of the esports industry festival on 7th September.

These shortlisted candidates will each be given a chance to persuade the judges, in front of 600+ attendees at the BOXPARK Wembley event, that their business deserves backing. Each finalist offers something unique in their business offering, but all of them cater to a specific need in the esports community:

  • Mouseskins –  A UK-based custom gaming mice provider.
  • Protest Labs –  A desktop application that measures and elevates players’ true capabilities.
  • Versus Gaming –  An esports platform where gamers of all skill levels can create teams, compete in tournaments and track their performance.
  • Challenger Project – A competitive esports gaming platform for casual players

This year’s judging panel is made up of industry stalwarts including Lisa Hau (COO) at Bidstack and Shahar Sorek (CMO) at Overwolf, with more judges to be announced shortly. Following each business’ pitch, the judges will come together to decide who to reward with a share of the $25,000 prize pool with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place receiving $17,000 (~£13,900), $5,000 (~£4100) and $3,000 (~£2400) respectively.

Since the first Clutch competition, held back in 2019, the funding received by some of the 60+ companies has helped them springboard to even greater heights: 

  • Platform (ESI London 2019), a next-level gaming bar & cultural space, announced a £1.5m funding round in April 2022 
  • Anzu (ESI Digital 2020), an advanced in-game advertising platform, has carried out a number of funding rounds with their most recent of £15.2m gaining investment from NBCUniversal, Sony Innovation Fund and HTC  
  • 3D Aim Trainer (ESI Digital 2020), a game that acts as an FPS aiming tool, was recently acquired by SteelSeries
  • Gscience (ESI London 2019 Winner), an esports performance company, was recently acquired by Adamas

Sam Cooke, Managing Director & Co-Founder of ESI, commented: “We’re thrilled to be hosting The Clutch investment competition once again and cannot wait to hear how these innovative companies plan to contribute to the growing esports industry. We know our community is full of talent and creativity and it’s amazing that with generous contributions from Overwolf, who donated this year’s prize pool, that we’re able to support them.”

As part of ESI’s ongoing commitment to the development of the industry, with support from Overwolf (Technology Partner) and Bird & Bird (Legal Partner), we have unveiled plans for a Clutch Advisory Board. This group of individuals will oversee and support the development of startups in the esports and gaming industry.

esi london 2022
ESI’s flagship conference is coming back to London in September. To buy a ticket or find out more, click here.

Confirmed members include Spike Laurie (Partner) at Hiro Capital; Vincent Vercelli (Head of Incubation) at Level256; Joanie Kraut (CEO) at Women in Games International (WIGI); Dan Bravato (President) SeventySix Capital Sports Advisory; Joey Brander (President) First Serve Partners; Kesem Fine (Business Development & M&A) Overwolf, with more to follow. Please use the following link for more information on the The Clutch competition and Clutch Advisory Board. 

For anyone wanting to come along and hear business pitches first-hand, tickets for ESI London 5-7 September are on sale and can be bought here

Esports Insider