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Beringea UK backs $19m Series A funding round for global e-sports brand Fnatic

May 1st 2019

Led by LVL1 Group and Beringea, Fnatic moves into the next stage of its global expansion plan

New leadership announced, to deliver and scale this next phase of growth, naming former Mercedes AMG Formula One CEO, Nick Fry as Chairman, Entrepreneur Glen Calvert as COO and Fnatic’s original founder Sam Mathews retakes CEO

(London, UK) Fnatic, the leading global esports brand, today announced it has secured $19 million USD in Series A funding. The investment round was led by tech entrepreneur Lev Leviev of LVL1 Group, who also joins the board, with new and continued support from investors including transatlantic venture capital firm Beringea, BlackPine, Unbound and Joi Ito.

With this investment, Fnatic will enter the next phase of its global expansion, strengthen involvement in tier-one leagues, including the League of Legends European Championships, launch new product categories in its esports equipment subsidiary including a new audio line, as well as scaling up resources to deliver and deploy marketing efforts and reach for brands on an international scale.

To support the company’s rapid growth a new leadership team is being appointed, former Mercedes AMG F1 Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nick Fry named Chairman, serial entrepreneur and founder of Affectv Glen Calvert appointed COO and Fnatic’s founder, Sam Mathews, to retake the CEO position. Former CEO Wouter Sleijffers steps down after four years at the helm, driving significant growth for the brand under his leadership including expanding the global team, opening new verticals and reinforcing Fnatic’s position as a leader on the competitive stage.

Lead investor Lev Leviev said “Esports is the future of entertainment as well as one of the most dynamic and exciting emerging industries out there. Fnatic has established itself as a driving force both on the competitive stage and as a global business in esports, I’m excited to be part of the next chapter as Fnatic scales into a global lifestyle brand.”

Karen McCormick, Chief Investment Officer of Beringea, commented: “Too often, investors highlight esports as an ‘up-and-coming’ and ‘burgeoning’ industry. It should be clear that e-sports has arrived and now represents one of the world’s leading entertainment sectors.

“E-sports already has more viewers in the US than the NHL and MLS, and it will surpass both the MLB and the NBA by 2021. The thrill and suspense of e-sports – both online and through the countless live events hosted around the world – represents entertainment that now directly competes with the world’s leading sports and has won over huge swathes of younger viewers.”

“Sam and his team at Fnatic have created one of the most exciting, competitive, and durable brands in the industry, and remain leaders on a global platform. We are hugely excited and proud to be one of the early institutional investors to be entering the industry, and feel honoured to be joining a great group of investors to be part of the Fnatic story going forward.”

“This is a pivotal moment in the evolution of Fnatic I am incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 15 years and now is the time to build on this strong foundation to realise our vision of being the leading global esports brand. To have such high caliber investors is telling of the potential they see in Fnatic and our future. We would not be at this point without the invaluable contribution of Wouter over the last four years, we are extremely grateful and sincerely wish him all the best” added new CEO, Sam Mathews.

Celebrating 15 years of rich history, Fnatic continues to solidify its position as the pre-eminent global esports organisation, with continued success on the world stage reaching the final of LoL World Championships which was viewed by an estimated 100m people worldwide, the only brand to launch its own line of award-winning esports equipment and the most watched western team globally in 2018 with 2.4bn hours watched.