Startups Venture

Last Week In Venture: Tournament Platforms, Esports Networks, And A Thermostat For One

Hello and welcome back to Last Week In Venture, the weekly roundup of deals which may have flown under your radar.

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There are plenty of companies operating outside the unicorn and public company spotlight, but that doesn’t mean their stories aren’t worth sharing. Startups are working on all sorts of weird and wonderful products and services, and in their stories we find trends and get a glimpse of the future before it arrives.

Without further ado, let’s get into a few of the deals from the week that was in venture-land.

Investors Say “Game On”

There is a lot of money going into esports these days. The graphics are mesmerizing, the action is fast, and the competitive spirit of more analog sports is there in spades.

There were two esports deals from this week we wanted to highlight here:

  • First up we have XY Gaming. Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, the company builds software to facilitate esports tournaments. This week, the company closed $2.5 million in a seed round co-led by KB Partners and Varga Capital. XY Games says it plans to expand its platform to include tournament organization infrastructure for popular titles such as Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Rocket League. Also it plansto expand its team of eight people.
  • Then we’ve got Venn, a new streaming video network focused on gaming and esports content. Co-founded by former execs from Vivendi and Riot Games, the New York-based company raised $17 million in seed funding from Eldridge Industries and Bitkraft Esports Ventures. Venn plans to open two studios in Los Angeles and NYC to produce a wide range of content. According to the Los Angeles Times, Venn’s network will feature “talk shows, reality shows, documentaries and esports events.” Back in June, Crunchbase News covered the ever-expanding esports industry, but found that monetization remains a challenge. Relaying data from research firm EMarketer, the Los Angeles Times reports that esports advertising revenue is expected to increase from $178 million in 2019 to nearly $214 million in 2020.

A Personal Thermostat

Recall the story of Goldilocks and the three bears and the bit about the porridge being either too hot or too cold. One of those bowls of porridge was “just right.” It’s how we all like to feel. But because all of us are unique in our physiology and personal preferences, temperature control is rarely a one-size-fits-all situation. What’s sweltering for some is frigid for others.

Wearables are all the rage, so why not wear a personal thermostat on your wrist? Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, Embr Labs built a device about the size of a chunky wristwatch which uses a thermoelectric principle called the Peltier Effect to heat or cool a piece of metal. It  is strapped to the wrist of the wearer.

This week, Embr Labs raised $6 million in Series B funding led by DigiTx Partners. Participating investors include Bose Ventures, Safar Partners, PBJ Capital, and Joyance Partners. The deal brings the company’s total known funding to $7.6 million.

Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Photo by Ugur Akdemir, via Unsplash.

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