According to a Nov. 23 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Cloud9 Esports, Inc., the organization is looking to secure $3 million in backing from investors, and in the past two weeks has already sold $2.8 million in equity to unnamed investors.
The filing, which is known as a Form D, is a request for the SEC to exempt Cloud9 from having to provide more detailed paperwork about the investment round. Startups working with angel investors often use forms of this type, which allow them to exclude the names of early investors and other details that usually must be disclosed when trying to raise venture capital.
Cloud9's form reveals only that the offering began on Nov. 11, and the org has so far brought on 21 separate investors. The organization is currently $143,661 short of reaching its target of $3 million.
Cloud9 has not made any public statement about the investment round or who has so far contributed to it. It is also not clear from the filing whether $3 million would constitute a controlling stake in the company. The org has yet to respond to a request for comment.
The filing appears to be the first that Cloud9 has made with the SEC, which suggests this is the first time the company has held an organized funding round of this size. However, the form also states that Cloud9 was incorporated in 2016, so it is possible the organization, which was founded in December 2012, has held past rounds under a different company name.
The round comes shortly after Blizzard’s announcement at BlizzCon that organizations that wish to field a team in next year’s Overwatch League will need to bid for permanent membership, which has reportedly sparked the interest of several big-name sports investors. Conventional sports teams and their owners are already eyeing esports franchises, and may be looking to invest significant funds to acquire a spot in the OWL.
Two of Cloud9’s competing North American esports organizations, Team Dignitas and Team Liquid, both recently announced they had received substantial backing from sports investors. The Philadelphia 76ers purchased Team Dignitas and Apex in September, while aXiomatic eSports, who own a stake in the Golden State Warriors, purchased a controlling interest in Team Liquid later that month. Though Cloud9 has not announced any business relationship with a sports investor or investment group, company CEO Jack Etienne was photographed at BlizzCon sitting with Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, and Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Los Angeles Rams.
Cloud9 has fielded an Overwatch roster longer than any other major North American esports organization, and though their recent results have been lackluster, the addition of three new players earlier this month has renewed hopes that they can become a dominant force in the region again. Cloud9 also fields teams and players in a variety of other games, including League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Super Smash Bros., Hearthstone, Call of Duty and Vainglory.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.