UK Esports Franchise EXCEL Gets City Heavyweight Support | Economic news
One of Britain’s fastest growing esports franchises has secured millions of pounds in funding from some of the city’s most prominent figures as it seeks to capitalize on the category’s booming popularity since the start of the pandemic.
Sky News has learned that EXCEL ESPORTS, which participates in the high-profile League of Legends and Fortnite online combat arena, will announce next week that it has raised around £ 17million to fund its expansion.
The fundraising is led by JRJ Group, which acquired a majority stake in EXCEL in 2018 alongside TOMS Capital, the family office of former hedge fund manager Noam Gottesman.
JRJ was established in 2008 by former Lehman Brothers executives Jeremy Isaacs and Roger Nagioff.
EXCEL’s existing investors are joined by IPGL, the private investment office of Lord Spencer, founder of ICAP and former Conservative Party treasurer.
The family office of Alan Howard, co-founder of Brevan Howard, one of the world’s most successful hedge funds, is also investing in the company, according to insiders.
City’s list of stellar names highlights the growing interest in esports as a sector, which has been fueled by IPOs of companies such as Guild Esports, which counts former footballer David Beckham among its shareholders.
EXCEL was founded in 2014, when the category was still in its infancy, by brothers Joel and Kieran Holmes-Darby.
It now has Dele Alli, the Tottenham Hotspur and former England footballer, as its ambassador, and has business partnerships with brands such as BT, Sony, Chupa Chups and Beyond NRG, which describes itself as an energy drink for games.
The company’s profile has skyrocketed due to its status as one of the ten founding members of the League of Legends European Championship and as the subject of a TV documentary narrated by actor Cillian Murphy.
Its new funding round places a pre-silver valuation on EXCEL of nearly £ 100million, according to insiders.
TNF Investments, a private equity firm, is also participating in the increase, they added.
Relatives of London-based EXCEL have said it ranks in Britain’s top three esports teams and expects annual profit growth of 70% by 2025.
Its franchise includes British Fortnite player Jaden “Wolfiez” Ashman, who holds the Guinness World Record for the youngest person in esports history to win $ 1 million in a single event.
The team, which bears the XL brand, also participates in VALORANT, a tactical shooter.
Information provided by the company indicates that its fans are on average 32 years old and have a family income of £ 55,000, underscoring why the esports industry is attracting so much commercial interest.
It is now said that there are as many as 3,000 professional esports players in the UK.
Wouter Sleijffers, Managing Director of EXCEL, said: “Together with our investors, I am truly delighted to enter the next chapter, building on the legacy of EXCEL and realizing our shared vision for the future. esport and gaming.
“In a very short space of time, EXCEL has established itself at the top of UK esports attracting significant support from investors, partners, our Ambassador Dele Alli and all the talent on and off stage.
“We now have all the elements in place to aim for more, to grow from a well-known name in UK esports to a diverse and internationally recognized UK gaming brand with the ability to derive maximum value from the continued expansion of the sector and the increasing digitization of consumer behavior. . “
The larger esports market is now estimated at £ 1 billion, with a global fan base of 500 million people.
The latest League of Legends final drew 44 million viewers at its peak, while researchers at Newzoo predict total esports sponsorship will have quadrupled in a four-year period through the end of 2021 for reach £ 1.1 billion.
Growth across the industry has been particularly strong during the early stages of the COVID-19[female[feminineepidemic, with most traditional live entertainment events suspended, leaving esports and other forms of gaming to fill the void for millions of consumers.
A recent report by The Business Research Company, a market researcher, predicted an increase in M&A activity in the esports industry, which remains highly fragmented.