January 11, 2018
Alex Wilhelm is the Editor in Chief of Crunchbase News, covering the intersection of startups and money.
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Morning Report: It’s like HQ Trivia. Only you watch other players play. And instead of questions, you have guns. And instead of HQ Trivia, it’s called Overwatch.

The launch of the Overwatch League, a new esports competition for the eponymous game is off to a cracking start. According to various esports observers, early viewer numbers for the league’s debut were strong.

According to esports veteran Rod Breslau for example, the numbers were impressive:

Other reports put the figure at 415,000, or just a few less. Regardless, the numbers imply that the Overwatch League has a fighting chance. (The actual numbers, inclusive of all sources, imply a higher aggregate number, but the above Twitch numbers are good enough for directional scale.)

Overwatch, a shooting game from Blizzard (the folks behind the Starcraft and Diablo franchises), launched in 2016, drives material revenue. Reporting from VentureBeat earlier this year, for example, pegged Overwatch revenue at $1 billion and growing.

(Overwatch is the “eighth Activision Blizzard game to generate $1 billion in revenue,” VentureBeat noted.)

Of course, Blizzard is not the first games company to take a popular title into the esports realm. Riot Games’ League of Legends became an esports powerhouse in its own right, for example.

And all the above brings us back to the interesting bet that Amazon made in 2014 to buy Twitch, the leading esports streaming company.

From The Crunchbase Daily:

Female founders see no gains

  • The percentage of women-founded venture-backed companies globally has plateaued at approximately 17 percent since 2012. And as we come to the end of 2017, that percent has not shifted, a Crunchbase News analysis finds.

Hyundai invests in Grab

  • Grab, Uber’s chief rival in Southeast Asia, has raised a strategic investment of undisclosed size from Korea’s Hyundai. The investment follows a massive $2 billion financing led by SoftBank and China’s Didi Chuxing last July, which included plans to extend the round by a further $500 million.

MinuteKey raises $83M

  • Boulder-based MinuteKey, the operator of a network of self-service kiosks for duplicating keys, raised $83 million from Comvest Partners.

YieldStreet secures $113M in debt and equity

  • New York-based YieldStreet has raised $113 million in debt and equity financing to build out its online platform, which allows accredited investors to buy alternative assets like real estate and business loans. Greycroft and Raine Ventures led a $12.8 million equity investment, while an unnamed backer provided $100 million in debt.