Another startup has dreams of finding a new niche in esports, and it now has a couple of extra million dollars in its pocket to help it do so.
Faceit bills itself as the “fastest-growing competitive gaming platform,” and the London-based firm raised $2 million earlier this year in what it’s calling a “pre-Series A” bridge round. United Ventures led the funding, convinced to do so thanks to the startup’s 1.5 million registered users, 2 million monthly uniques, and 5 million hosted gaming sessions. Esports now reaches 134 million people worldwide and drives $600 million in yearly revenue, a May report from research firm Superdata found, so it’s no surprise investors are looking for opportunities in this growing sector of video games.
“We wanted to bring onboard investors we liked while delaying a proper Series A,” a Faceit spokesperson told GamesBeat over email.
Twitch may be the king of esports, being the go-to resource to watch competitive gaming these days. But Faceit’s taking a different approach. It has online tournaments and daily and monthly leagues, and joining the service is free (though it monetizes through 30,000 monthly subscribers paying $5 to $12 a month each). The startup claims its platform is the “smoothest and most entertaining competitive experience available.” This comes in part because of what it calls a “player-centric interface” and an automatic-results verification (just ask folks who play Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, which lacks such a tool, how awesome this could be). Victories earn you points that you can redeem in Faceit’s shop.
Faceit also produces gaming competitions that run on Twitch, where it has 500,000 followers. The first stage of its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event reached more than 25.2 million unique viewers and 52.5 million views. It’s also managed the open online phases of other esports competitions, such as QuakeCon, Dreamhack, and The International 5. It broadcasts a CS:GO league and the CS:GO star series, a League of Legends invitationals, Quake Live seasons. It also organizes a Dota 2 pro league.
Niccolo Maisto, Alessandro Avallone, and Michele Attisani founded Faceit in 2012. Its competitors include rival esports platform Cevo. The company says its name captures “the feeling when you’re facing competition or the challenge.”