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Ex-Liquidnet EMEA City Head In Esports ‘Series A’ Fund Launch, By Roger Aitken

Date 02/06/2020

The Esports Gaming League (EGL), a UK-based esports agency delivering a technology platform for gamers to enter tournaments across multiple games on a global basis, has launched a ‘Series A’ funding using crowdfunding to expand its activities and growth overseas in a billion dollar industry. It values the business at around £5.5 million (c.$6.7m) on a 'pre-money' basis.

Spearheaded by John Barker, ex-European head of block trading firm Liquidnet in The City, the campaign aims to raise funds help EGL’s future international expansion with an eye to the burgeoning market in Asia, a region accounting for around half of global eSports market revenues.

Esports - or electronic sports - is a form of competition played using video games that as an industry can be traced back to the first Atari Space Invaders World Championship in 1980. Since then the sector’s trajectory has been on the up and projected to generate c.$1.8 billion (bn) in revenues globally by 2022 though sponsorships and advertising, betting, prize pools, tournaments and ticket sales - up from $1.1bn for 2019. (source: Statista).

Acting as a “360 agency” creating authentic esports campaigns, EGL has developed its own-brand esports technology platform (own IP) and competitive tournament system. Built from scratch by gamers - for gamers - it enables grassroots esports players through to professional gamers to take part.

The firm’s crowdfund initiative, which runs for a minimum 30-day period through Crowdcube and has so far raised investment from over 250 investors, has set an initial fund target of £300,000 (c.$366,000). Representing equity of 5.17% in the business, this puts EGL’s ‘pre-money’ valuation at £5,505,770 (c.$6.72m).

John Barker, Chairman of the Esports Gaming League and XSeries Retro, commenting said: “Fundamentally we are seeking to enhance our tournament platform further and will be allocating part of the investment being raised to make the process of playing and competing easier.”

The serial entrepreneur, who in addition to having worked for Liquidnet in London for around 10 years has held a non-executive directorship at ITI Capital, added: “By working with games developers to have deep-rooted integration within titles from mobile to the biggest games on the market, our initiatives will help them make their games e-sportable.”

Effectively EGL’s business provides a service to game developers, publishers, brands and marketing agencies with a turnkey solution for esports campaigns. From start to finish creating and executing a strategy for esports that allows companies to offer an authentic esports marketing play, but without the day-to-day operations being in house.

EGL has a history and track record of delivering live events, streaming and TV production together with content to brands and publishers alike. To date it has some 335,000 registered users and its blue-chip client base includes Arsenal FC, Microsoft and RedBull.

With EGL’s business having already witnessed significant growth and interest over the past few years, their crowdfunding initiative via Crowdcube Capital Limited (authorised and regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority), could potentially “pave the way” for future rounds according to Barker, an avid sports fan and a life-long QPR supporter.

EGL has been given advance assurance by HMRC that the proposed share issue is “likely to qualify” for Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax relief, which is currently set at 30%.

Due to financial regulations, potential investors need to join EGL’s community to view the full investment opportunity. It should be pointed out that investments of this nature also carry risks to an investor’s capital, including illiquidity, lack of dividends and dilution.

For further details on EGL’s crowdfund campaign see: www.crowdcube.com/egl.