FIMALAC, an international player in digital media and entertainment (through Webedia and Fimalac Entertainment), is partnering with Matthieu Dallon, an Esports pioneer creator of the ESWC and the Toornament platform (acquired by Webedia in 2016), to create the first seed & early-stage fund entirely dedicated to innovative startups in the Esports sector.
Esports, a contraction of “electronic sports” that describes competitive gaming, is a new segment in the gaming industry, engaging the millennials generation across the world with tournaments broadcast live on Internet and TV, which reward professional players with cash prizes higher than the ATP World Tour ($373 million cash prizes awarded to the best Esports players in 2018 – source: Toornament.com).
Esports is now the fastest growing segment of the video game industry: 45% average annual growth over the last 3 years, a worldwide turnover of over 1 billion euros in 2018, which is expected to rise to 20 billion euros over the next 7 years by 2025 (source: Berenberg study 2018).
“The creation of this unique and pioneering fund is testament to the confidence I have in the development of Esports, and in the young French and European talents that drive this industry. Through innovation, we want to meet the expectations of new generations regarding their gaming experience. With this in mind, investment in Trust Esport complements our digital efforts driven by Webedia – the French leader and global operator of Esports tournaments – and our entertainment business developed by Fimalac Entertainment”, states Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, owner and president of Fimalac.
The fund will support 10 to 12 innovative businesses that are working to develop creative and complementary applications, mods, platforms and services for Esports games, focusing on three problematics:
1. The improvement of the viewing experience: how to make live or online events more attractive, interactive, emotional and unifying, from game broadcast.
2. The development of the audience monetisation: to allow clubs, tournament organisers, and content producers to generate direct and sustainable revenue from Esports.
3. The optimisation of the playing conditions: from connectivity to devices and new HMI to improve esports performances.
Development of regulations and management of the fund (French FPCI) will be entrusted to the AMF-accredited management company APICAP, with Matthieu Dallon and Mathias Monribot providing sourcing, assistance and consulting. At launch, the fund will invest €20M, and FIMALAC will be the first partner and sponsor with €10M in funding already committed. Several other major industry partners will be announced this year at the end of the creation process.