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

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

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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