According to SuperData, Esports was a $1.5B in industry in 2017 with continued growth forecasted. As a result of this explosive growth, massive amounts of data is being collected and recorded.This is where Esports One comes in. It’s a data analytics company that uses computer vision and machine learning to capture data that is used to increase the viewing experience of the esport fan and player. Their interactive interface provides real time on-screen data that provides histories, predictions, efficiency stats, and much more. Not having to rely on game publishers who may or may not provide data APIs, the platform is able to efficiently and accurately provide custom sets of data that can be used.
AlleyWatch spoke with founder and CEO Matthew Gunnin about the company, its impressive technology, and their recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
This was our Seed Round and was led by XSeed, co-led by Eniac Ventures, and participated in by Crest Capital and Fifth Street Gaming. We raised $3M in this Seed Round.
Tell us about your product or service.
Esports One is a real-time data capture and analytics company that is dedicated to enhancing the esports viewing experience. We capture what is happening on a live stream in real-time, analyze it and then present interesting info and stats back to the viewer.
After working with major players in the esports industry for nearly a decade, I realized that there was a large gap in the market: The viewing experience. As an avid viewer of traditional sports alongside esports, I wanted to bring the engaging experience of watching Football, Soccer or UFC to competitive gaming.
How is it different?
The majority of data companies in esports rely on game-publisher APIs to gather the data for their product. Some game publishers don’t have an API, many others don’t have one publicly available, and many of those that do have an API available don’t update it instantly. Esports One solves this problem by utilizing computer vision to capture what is happening on a live stream in real-time and enhancing it with game-publisher API data, rather than relying on it.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are targeting the esports industry, which is projected to eclipse $1,000,000,000 in revenue between 2018 & 2019
What’s your business model?
We have both a B2B and B2C model. On the B2B side, we license out our technology to game publishers and event broadcasters to incorporate into their own production environment. On the B2C side, we have a freemium model where users can come to our site, sign up for an account and create a 100% customized, engaging viewing experience for themselves. They can access the majority of this information for free, but have the ability to unlock additional functionality via a paid monthly account or micro transactions.
The computer vision technology that you have developed is very impressive. Why limit to esports?
It may seem like we are “limiting” the technology to esports, but there is a huge number of titles, each requiring its own adaptations to the technology, that exist in esports. It’ll take some time to adapt our technology to all of the major titles in the industry, who knows where we’ll go after that!
What was the funding process like?
The funding process, like I’m sure any other founder will tell you, was a bit of a grind. We wanted to find investors that believed in the industry as much as we did, which was tough as many either saw it as a money-grab or didn’t believe it was ready for investment. That being said, once we connected with our Seed Round investors, things progressed very quickly and painlessly.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
One of the biggest challenges is definitely keeping a positive outlook throughout the fundraising process. You started your company because you believed in and were passionate about your idea, you need to understand that you may hear “no” 100 times before you lock down an investor. It’s a long road and can definitely be tough on your mental health, so be prepared!
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
A lot of it had to do with our team, connections in the industry and technology. They saw that our technology had the potential to revolutionize the industry and believed that we were the team to do it.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
- Announce our first major partner in the esports broadcasting space
- Launch our consumer beta for League of Legends
- Expand into a second game title
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Be scrappy. Do whatever it takes to get in front of the right people and make the right relationships/partnerships. Always be on the lookout for ways to improve yourself and the company. Consider attending a startup accelerator, this will provide an injection of capital, a place to work and mentorship for around three months which can help you reach the level you need to be at to raise further VC funding.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
I see our technology being utilized by a major game publisher / broadcaster and wow-ing the fanbase with what we are capable of.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
Anything on Stone Street!