North American esports outfit Cloud9 has raised $25m in Series A Investment, welcoming investment partners from across sports and entertainments.
The fund was led by Founders Fund, made up of several Paypal funders, and it was joined by funding from San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence, the Beverly Hills Sports Council, investment from tech investors David Sacks and Bill Lee and even the most electrifying brand in sports entertainment, the WWE.
Pence will be joining the Cloud9’s board as an observer. He was a previous investor in the company who upped his stake in the latest round of funding.
Talking to ESPN, the WWE’s chief strategist and financial officer George Barrios said the company had been interested in esports for a while before making an investment: "We just looked around the space, looked at all the players and did our own evaluation of who we thought would be successful in the long term," he said.
“We just thought that the Cloud9 team had developed lots of expertise and we’re just really, really impressed with Jack [Etienne, the Cloud9 CEO] and the rest of the staff; how professional they were, how organized and how much infrastructure they had built for a small organization. We thought they were on their way. We looked at a lot of players, and they were the ones we put in the top tier."
The investment comes at a good time for Cloud9, they’ve been confirmed as the London team for the Overwatch League and are reportedly going to join Riot Games’ franchised League of Legends North American LCS league. Cloud9’s founder Jack Etienne has said the money could go towards a Cloud9 facility in Los Angeles.
Reported figures for OWL signup are $20m, and for the new NA LCS $10m.