Leading Swedish esports platform Challengermode has today announced that it has successfully closed an external financing round of approximately €10.1 million. Led by eWTP Innovation Fund, the global investment arm of the Alibaba Group, the investment will be used to enable further growth, international expansion and accelerated monetization.
Founded in 2014, Challengermode aims to make esports truly accessible for gamers. Its platform provides the fundamental online esports infrastructure for all relevant stakeholders within the ecosystem – to congregate, practice or compete in esports. It automates complex tournament infrastructure through game integrations and allows gamers to easily play in competitions, tournaments and leagues across any device or console, while enabling community building and monetization at scale for organizers of all kinds.
The startup has swiftly secured its position as one of the fastest growing grassroots esports platforms. With millions of competitions hosted this year to date in Europe alone, in addition to partnerships with the world’s largest digital festival DreamHack, global football organization FIFA and renowned esports team Fnatic, the business continues to go from strength-to-strength.
Additional investors in the round include Telia Ventures, GP Bullhound, Back in Black Capital and Swedish soccer legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The funding comes at a time when esports are collectively reporting higher Average Minute Audience (AMA) numbers than many traditional sports including tennis, basketball and rugby union. Today, Challengermode states that more than 2.5 billion people worldwide play video games, and more than 220 million people watch professional esports tournaments every month.
With the new funds, Challengermode will focus on enabling a growing number of brands, content creators, game developers and professional tournament organizers to reach, engage and monetize their target audiences through esports. Further technology development will enable the business to make the competitive gaming experience as seamless as possible, by offering ways for game developers to access its technology and new partnerships. It will also enable expansion into North America, accelerating Challengermode’s already strong user growth and leveraging new monetization opportunities.
Robel Efrem, co-founder and CEO of Challengermode, said: “We are very excited to close this new financing round with the support of a strong set of investors who share our vision for esports. With the additional backing we’re able to double down on our core mission of delivering the best competitive gaming experience to each and everyone’s home, in any game.Our promise to the esports industry is that we will – regardless of player ability or experience – provide a platform that enables anyone to participate in esports. That means going beyond just making tournaments easy to host to creating a fun and inclusive community”.
CY Chen of Joyme Capital (eWTP Capital, Gaming Fund) added: “We are delighted to bring Challengermode into eWTP’s portfolio. Its position as a leader in the rapidly growing esports market makes it a great fit for us. Since the company launched in 2014, it has continued to achieve significant milestones in terms of growth, product development and customer acquisition. We are looking forward to continuing to support the management team in successfully building, developing and growing the business to its full potential.”