Esports One Raises $4M Amid Pandemic-fueled Gaming Boom

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

Esports One Raises $4M Amid Pandemic-fueled Gaming Boom
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Esports One, the Los Angeles-based fantasy sports platform, announced Friday it raised $4 million with plans to launch new leagues around hit titles like Fortnite and Rocket League.

The three-year-old, venture-backed company secured $3.8 million in May and originally only supported competitive gaming around L.A.-based Riot Game's "League of Legends" franchise, but CEO and co-founder Matt Gunnin has ambitions of making fantasy sports accessible to a larger audience.


"We're doing that by introducing new ways for users to win money to win prizes," he said. "Where we're really starting to innovate is when it comes to an entirely new category of fantasy called real-time."

That feature lets users adjust their lineups and make predictions while watching games — making the experience of watching esports competitive, Gunnin said. It's currently available on desktop and mobile sites but the startup said it plans to build an app soon.

The company reported a bump in users by 25% month-over-month, which Gunnin attributes both to an uptick in gaming during COVID and to the company's new integrated feature with Discord, a kind of Slack for gamers.

Gunnin said the funding will allow Esports One to add five or six new game titles.

"The pandemic has put more eyeballs to esports, especially people that are new to the industry," Gunnin said. "We want to provide fantasy for everything from professional esports events to high school events."

The round was led by XSeed Capital, Eniac Ventures and Chestnut Street Ventures.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec
Photo by James Opas | Modified by Joshua Letona

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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