iCandy’s Esports Players League secures investment from 500 Startups
By Digital News Asia March 5, 2020
- Undisclosed funding to execute ESPL’s initial business objective
- Phase 1 has yielded franchise partnerships across SEA, Australia
ASX listed games publisher iCandy Interactive Ltd, which is focused on the Southeast Asian market, has announced that its 42% investee eSports company Esports Players League (ESPL) has secured an investment from early stage venture capital firm 500 Startups.
The investment is for an undisclosed amount and will serve as the seed round for ESPL to execute its initial business objective of rolling out ESPL-branded tournaments and platforms to 10 countries in its first year of operation.
ESPL is described as a global eSports tournament platform provider, with a focus towards creating mobile ecosystems for amateur eSports leagues globally. The company’s national franchise model is meant to enable up-and-coming eSports talents (especially at the grassroots level) to easily participate in global competitions.
iCandy, whose chairman is Malaysian entrepreneur Lau Kin Wai, says in a press release today that Phase 1 of ESPL’s global roll-out has yielded franchise partnership agreements across Southeast Asia and Latin America, with additional international partnerships to be announced shortly.
On top of that, ESPL has entered its first media partnership with Astro’s EGG Network, which is the largest eSports TV network in SEA and Australia commanding a TV audience reach of 100 million.
The first ESPL season is planned to run from April to November 2020. Official details about the tournaments – including the games and locations – will be announced soon.
“We are delighted to have secured this support from the highly-regarded team at 500 Startups, and it serves as a very encouraging endorsement of ESPL’s vision for the future of eSports and our achievements to date,” says ESPL cofounder and CEO Michael Broda.
“Our team is committed to delivering eSports as mainstream entertainment to the global online gamer community and in order to achieve this we will need the support of a number of robust global partners. As such we are very excited to be working with 500 Startups on this journey and as this relationship evolves, we look forward to working with other investees of 500 Startups that are aligned to our esports mission.”
According to research, global eSports audience is expected to reach 645 million in 2020, surpassing that of traditional sports like baseball, rugby and American football.
“As with sports, it is inevitable that players in all countries and levels demand avenues to compete, participate and watch. We’ve reviewed many eSports business models and found this team and their vision most compelling. We look forward to supporting them in their global journey,” says 500 Startups managing partner Khailee Ng.
For the financial year ended 31 Dec 2019 iCandy reported a lower loss of US$1.58 million (A$2.39 million) approximately 31% lower compared to the prior year net loss of A$3.44 million. It’s revenue for the year stood at A$1.76 million.
[A$1 = US$0.66]