Vulcun, the fantasy eSports site that launched with over $1 Million in prize money for competing fans, has announced a partnership with Sequoia and raised a $12 million Series A round of financing.
Investors from all over tech space have contributed to the investment in fantasy eSports, including Mark Pincus of Zynga, Joe Kraus at Google Ventures, and Steven Fan at Yahoo. They are joined by Naval Ravikant (Angellist), Kevin Chou (Kabam), Lars Buttler (Trion), Kevin Moore, Edward Fu, Matrix Partners, Universal Music Group, Battery Ventures, CAA, and Crosscut Ventures.
"eSports as an industry has married to a certain level where outside investment becomes viable", Vulcun CEO Ali Moiz told theScore eSports. "Top line viewer growth, multiple successful titles, and a proven fantasy model in traditional sports make investing on what we do possible."
With over a million dollars in launch prize money up for grabs by eSports fans worldwide, Moiz assures that this new financing will keep Vulcun's prize pool above its debut year.
"Vulcun Prize pools are never going lower", Moiz said pointedly. "Only higher from here. "
Moiz's statements are backed up by both his partners and the participating investors.
"We really believe in the long-term potential of eSports and Fantasy Leagues", said Sequoia partner and Vulcun board member Omar Hamoui in a press release. "Vulcun allows fans to participate in the thrill of competitive gaming at the highest levels, without the need to go pro. Vulcun founders Ali & Murti have a strong background in running a successful eSports team, and passionately believe in what they do."
"eSports leagues will be the NFLs of the 21st century, with truly global fanbases and games that today's youth relate to," added Josh Hannah, partner at Matrix Partners. "Tournaments for eSports already draw larger live audiences that most traditional sports, and are just in their infancy. Vulcun.com provides the connection between fans and the emerging stars and teams in eSports."
The site currently supports over a dozen global leagues in League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Vulcun says in the 11-weeks since launch, they have awarded $760,000 in prizes over 6.7 million player picks and 858,000 teams created. Vulcun has partnered with several former professional League of Legends players, including Joedat "Voyboy" Esfahani and Michael "Imaqtpie" Santana.
Moiz says that while League of Legends has seen the most activity, it's a bit too early to tell for Dota 2 and CS:GO that have less leagues. Moiz admits that while the next games for the platform are not yet planned, Hearthstone and Smite are being looked at.
Last week, it was reported that fantasy sports giants DraftKings and FanDuel were in the process of raising hundreds of millions of dollars to land near billion-dollar valuations. While the traditional sports industry is way ahead of the curve in this field, Moiz is confident in Vulcun's ability to come in and own the space along with those giants.
"eSports fantasy is much smaller than traditional sports fantasy, but even today, I'd say we're in the top 25 of all fantasy sports sites", he said.
"This is 11 weeks from launch, so eSports rocks."