Led by Binary Capital, the Seattle-based gaming company Unikrn raised an additional $7 million of capital, which brings it to a total of $10 million raised since November 2014 from various investors including Mark Cuban, Advancit Capital, Freelands Group, 500 Startups, Indicator Ventures, and Tabcorp.
The new funding will help Unikrn further materialize its vision of bringing safe and legal wagering on eSports to consumers around the world – and to help it compete with traditional sportsbooks that offer eSports, such as betway and bet365.
“Millions of people watch competitive gaming globally, we believe the industry has hit an inflection point and this is just the tip of the iceberg for where this new sport can go,” said Jonathan Teo of Binary Capital. “We fully believe in the Unikrn executive team, what they are building, and their vision of how they want to heighten people’s engagement with eSports across all mediums.”
Inside eSportsbook Unikrn
Unikrn is a leading company offering services in the gaming, eSports and entertainment industry worldwide. Players can bet on tournaments for games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
It was co-founded by Rahul Sood, who previously served as CTO of HP’s global gaming business; he also founded and led Microsoft Ventures as well as the gaming computer company VoodooPC that was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2006.
The company partnered up with high profile players such as Hewlett-Packard, Logitech, Razer, and Tabcorp, and is continuing to forge strategic relationships in the gaming, eSports, and entertainment industry.
Sood says the company plans to use the money from this round to add to its staff and boost marketing and partnerships.
Riding the growth wave of professional eSports
The competitive gaming industry has been gathering audiences quickly, especially in the last couple of years when bigger championships started offering more lucrative prize pools.
- Last year, 27 million people joined in to watch the finals of the League of Legends World Championship.
- This year a tournament with the biggest prize pool in the history of eSports has taken place, with a staggering $18 million.
- In 2014, the game streaming service Twitch had viewers watching an average of 16 billion minutes of live gaming streams per month.
Looking at the growing trend and the nature of strategic partnerships, Unikrn’s leaders say that the company does not plan to limit itself on the current focus on eSports betting and that there’s a lot more that it plans to offer in the future. “We’re clearly partnering with these people and there’s a reason for it. And it goes above and beyond the betting side,” says Sood.