Startups Venture

100 Thieves Raises $35M Series B As The Esports Boom Continues

The esports boom is rolling along this summer as 100 Thieves, a popular esports team, announced that it closed a $35 million Series B today. The firm’s new capital event was led by Artist Capital Management and included funds from Aglaé Ventures and Groupe Arnault according to a release.

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Recently, 100 Thieves raised a $25 million Series A in October of 2018. That puts the firm’s new, and larger Series B under one year since its last financing activity. While venture-backed companies often raise on an aggressive 18-month cadence, that interval can be cut when there’s sufficient investor interest.

Esports, Heck Yeah

For the uninitiated, 100 Thieves manages esports teams across a number of titles including League of Legends and Fortnite, runs ecommerce operations based on its brand, and broadcasts and publishes videos, streams, and podcasts. So, it’s a multi-game, multi-platform group that generates revenue through merchandise, advertising, and gaming itself.

Indeed, the firm double-clicked its recent success, claiming today that its “esports teams are winning championships, [its] apparel is selling out, and [its] podcasts have topped the charts.” This is the modern promise of esports itself, that the fanbase has matured to the point of being very monetizable.

There’s some truth to the boast, at least. Perusing the 100 Thieves store this morning doing Very Serious Work I did discover that every item offered was sold out. Not bad.

But, following our recent coverage on the world of esports from both Mary Ann and myself we wanted to go deeper. So, here are a few questions and a few answers from John Robinson, 100 Thieves President and COO, conducted over email.

Let’s see what he has to say.

Q and A

  • Crunchbase News (CBN): Why raise so quickly after Series A? Did the company need more capital?
  • John Robinson: We want to be the biggest brand in gaming & esports, and raising this Series B allows us to accelerate our growth.  We don’t currently need the funds, but after meeting Artist Capital Management we knew they’d be a great partner for the long run, so decided to do the round now.
  • CBN: What portion of the money will go towards expanding the firm’s merch operation?
  • JR: Our apparel business is doing extremely well so we’re looking forward to opening our first retail location at our new headquarters in Los Angeles.
  • CBN: In time, does apparel and other forms of merch comprise the company’s largest revenue slice in time?
  • 100 Thieves declined to answer.
  • CBN: Does the team have new esports titles under consideration? Does the new capital help move into new titles?
  • JR: We have multiple new titles under consideration and expect to announce new games later this year.
  • CBN: Which current competitive title is 100T most excited about from a fan and revenue perspective for the next year?
  • JR: We have six qualifiers for the inaugural Fortnite World Cup, making us one of the top teams in the world, so we’re eager to see how Epic Games develops Fortnite as an esport.
  • CBN: There has been a number of reports detailing concern from certain players in the esports world that a correction could be coming, as some companies in the space get ahead of their ability to generate revenue. How does 100T approach the question of growth and self-sufficiency, and does the company consider the esports market inflated?
  • JR: We are generating a significant amount of revenue through both our sponsorships business and apparel business, so that’s not a concern for us. Our ability to generate meaningful revenue in our first 18 months is why there was so much interest in our Series B.
  • CBN: Can the company provide YoY revenue growth percentage?
  • 100 Thieves declined to answer.

I want to point out that I got all the way to this point in the post without pointing out that I’m a diehard Team Liquid fan (no matter the game). That aside, as an esports believer who recalls watching ripped VODs from Korean Broodwar tournaments back in the days before streaming because it was the only way to watch the game at that level, I’m just excited to see gaming where it is today.

And with that, back to our regularly scheduled cynicism.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

Mary Ann Azevedo Contributed reporting to this piece.

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