Video gaming often gets lumped together with other un-social activities, when in fact gaming has shifted and is consistently bringing people together. At the head of this charge is Super League Gaming, the global community platform connecting esports gamers through competition and tournaments. The company that regularly rents movie theatres to host tournaments is connecting gamers nationwide and furthering esports’ popularity through social competition. Super League Gaming, having expanded in recent years, is more accommodating than ever to various age groups and genres of games.
LA TechWatch spoke with CEO Ann Hand about the Startup and discussed the company’s most recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $15 million in Series C funding, bringing the total raised to more than $28 million. Investors in this round include Nickelodeon, a division of Viacom, DMG Entertainment, a SoftBank-managed fund, Toba Capital, Cali Group and and multiple traditional professional sports team owners including Jeffrey Vinik, owner of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, and aXiomatic, a premier esports entity backed by professional sports and media leaders.
Tell us about your product or service.
Super League Gaming is a global community platform that offers accessible esports competitions, content and social interactions for amateur gamers.
How is it different?
Super League is the world’s first, biggest and most accessible esports league for gamers that takes place both online and in-person at local gaming arenas. Our community building platform enables unique, local gaming experiences for players around the world of all ages and levels to experience recreational and competitive gaming, content creation and sharing, and social networking. Super League has pioneered city teams in esports tapping into gamers’ desire for more connectedness and the inherent desire to represent and root for their home team.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Our Minecraft offering caters to elementary and middle school-aged children, while our League of Legends offering caters to 16 – 30 year olds.
What’s your business model?
At the moment our business is based in organizing events that happen online and in movie theaters around the United States.
What was the funding process like?
Like most, it is a great opportunity to really refine your story about what the brand stands for and how we scale. We were fortunate to meet a lot of investors across the areas of sports, entertainment, and technology that asked smart questions and offered exceptional advice for our forward growth.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Usually it is just a time challenge. Spending quality time to get investors up to speed with the business model takes you away from day-to-day operations. Fortunately, the space of esports is so hot right now that we had a very large pipeline of interested investors.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
They love the Super League brand and our very differentiated position going after the 99% of gamers via an amateur league system. The introduction of the Super League-owned and operated city teams, plus our fantastic partnerships with Riot Games and Microsoft, validated that publishers see this as a big void in the gaming ecosystem.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
With our recent funding, we hope to continue to grow and expand our team, bring our offering overseas, and add new games to our existing lineup.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
The venture community is growing so fast in Los Angeles that just a little effort on networking can go a long way. Remember that your opening meeting will set the tone for whether they dig in or not, so having a compelling story is key, but also delivering it in a way that instills confidence in your strategic thinking and operational capability. Investors want to know they are giving their money to a smart and safe pair of hands.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In the near term we hope to focus our growth on team, city and game expansion.
What is your favorite LA bar, when you need to kick back and relax?
Ah, good question! I like to go old-school sometimes in LA, so a martini at the Polo Lounge is never a bad idea. If it’s a beer on a sunny day, then On the Waterfront in Venice.