Competitive gaming is growing quickly, and one of the sites trying to make your dreams of going pro a reality is building up to serve the future of esports.
Zengaming, a social network for gamers looking to make a name for themselves in the esports world, has raised $2.8 million in funding. Crown Resorts Limited, a casino and entertainment company, led the round as it pushes further into the video game space. Other investors include financial firms NFX Guild, 500 Startups, iAngels, and Foundation Capital along with angel investors Barak Rabinowitz and Shmueli Ahdut. Zengaming will use this influx of cash to bring on new talent and to expand its support for important esports games like Dota 2, League of Legends, and Starcraft. Pro gaming is on pace to generate $463 million in revenues this year primarily from sponsorships and marketing, and Zengaming is trying to position itself as a strong link between that money and the players.
“We are extremely excited about this financing round,” Zengaming chief executive Jimi Gecelter said in a canned statement. “When we started zengaming, we knew that we were answering a real need within the esports community: a professional network to find and interact with other players.”
Like LinkedIn, Zengaming wants its members to see the site as a path to future income. The idea is that you can compete in games and your results will show up on Zengaming and other teams might notice and recruit you based on your profile. Additionally, the site also hosts sponsors who may want to connect with top players for potential sponsorships. The company claims it now has more than 1 million active users for the military shooter Counter-Strike alone. It is actively testing communities for Dota 2, Rocket League, and more.
“Even we were surprised by how widespread our success was, gaining such an impressive amount of active users within a year,” continued Gecelter. “Partnering up with Crown, which has already hosted the biggest eSports tournament in Australia, with professional teams such as Cloud9 and Virtus.Pro, is an important strategic step that will help zengaming continue its expansion, and position itself as a leader in the esports industry.”