Early Stage Fund Launched with Participation from the Esports Ecosystem’s Most Prominent Influencers
BITKRAFT Esports Ventures, an early stage investor and incubator exclusively focused on the esports sector, has launched the world’s first esports specific fund. Based in Berlin and Los Angeles, the epicenters of the western esports world, BITKRAFT Esports Ventures incubates, builds, and invests in esports startups along with a group of the industry’s most influential companies and executives. BITKRAFT has raised €18M in its first closing, with a target final close of €30M, and will invest € 100k-400k in each startup.
The team is led by Jens Hilgers, a twenty-year esports veteran and the founder of ESL, the world’s largest esports company which was acquired by MTG in 2015. Markus Fuhrmann, co-founder of Delivery Hero, and Minard Hamilton, a senior executive who previously held roles at EA Mobile/JAMDAT, ESPN and Activision, round out the founding partnership.
Investing since March 2016, BITKRAFT has already backed ten esports companies in Europe, Asia, and the United States including Boom.tv, Kek.tv, and DOJO Madness. The firm plans to ad d four more startups to their portfolio in 2017.
Esports is a global phenomenon, and BITKRAFT’s worldwide investment strategy, combined with the partners’ extensive international experience, including scaling Delivery Hero to 40 countries; rolling out ESL globally, with a focus on China; and driving ESPN’s international expansion are a huge value-add for startups in the esports space.
The fund’s limited partners include several leading investors and entrepreneurs in the world of sports, entertainment, and gaming including Sumit Gupta, Fabrice Grinda, Hany Nada, Rick Thompson, MTG , Segerstrale Family Trust, aXiomatic Group, Bertelsmann’s BDMI, Inner Circle Sports LLC, among others.
“Esports happens at the intersection of video games and sports, where new opportunities and excitement exists. This fund is the culmination of building and scaling esports and creating outstanding services and products that increase enjoyment for both players and fans,” says Jens Hilgers, BITKRAFT Founding Partner. “This fund is also about living my passion and creating a platform to support those who share this dream and have the drive to create intrinsic value in esports. Everyone involved in BITKRAFT has had outstanding entrepreneurial success in esports or closely related industries. I am very excited about the talent that our group brings to the table for the startups and entrepreneurs we support.”
“Esports is rapidly becoming a key pillar of the gaming industry and a form of mainstream entertainment in its own right, across all gaming platforms, from mobile to PC. However, the esports ecosystem is still very young. With its seasoned investment team who bring a mix of expertise across technology, media, and games, as well as deepest possible esports experience, BITKRAFT is incredibly well positioned as an accelerator and fund to support this rapidly emerging ecosystem,” commented Kristian Segerstrale, CEO at Super Evil Megacorp, the maker of the world’s leading mobile esport, Vainglory.
About BITKRAFT Esports Ventures
BITKRAFT is an early stage investor and company builder focused entirely on the esports sector. We found, support, and scale esports startups along with the industry’s most influential companies. Founded in 2015, we are active in both Berlin and Los Angeles, the epicenters of the western esports world.
BITKRAFT is home to a diverse range of entrepreneurs, operators, and investors who are building businesses, creating and expanding opportunities and developing new technologies that benefit esports players, fans, and stakeholders around the globe.