It looks like earning street cred with gamers is worth actual money these days. Astro Gaming said it has raised $3.5 million in a second round of funding for its gaming headset and accessories business.
The San Francisco company spun out of Astro Studios, an industrial design company that helped craft the Xbox 360 in August 2006. It has raised $2 million from Seraphim Investments and designed an audio headset for professional gamers. Astro Gaming’s A40 headset has multiple functions for pro gamers and was adopted by most of the teams on the Major League Gaming tournament circuit.
The company launched the headsets in early 2008 for $250 a pop. Now the company has sold more than $1 million, said Brett Lovelady, chief executive of Astro Gaming and Astro Studios. (pictured above with Astro President Jordan Reiss). The company also launched its Transport Series of gaming gear bags. The idea is to stay close to the pro gamers, who have an influence over what the bigger base of fans buys.
With the success of these products, the company has proven that a small team of industrial designers can take on rivals in the $5 billion gaming peripherals industry, including big companies like Logitech.
This is consistent with the trend that the most successful consumer hardware products are those that have the best industrial design, not the biggest war chests. Just look at Apple several years back.
The new round was led by Triangle Peak Partners. Other investors include Fayez Sarofim & Co., Nixon Watches co-founder Chad DiNenna, three-time NBA All-Star and video game enthusiast Gilbert Arenas, as well as Astro Studios.
The company expects to complete the round with $1.5 million more within the next three months. The company plans to use the money to roll out more products and expand to Europe and Asia. Triangle Peak Partners is a $300 million investment fund, of which $165 million is earmarked for venture and private equity investments.