Epics.gg has raised $2 million in a seed round for its digital trading card platform for esports. It enables users to buy, sell, and collect digital trading cards based on esports athletes, much like collectible cards in traditional sports.
Bitkraft Esports Ventures led the investment, with participation from Jon Goldman’s GC Tracker Fund, Everblue Management, Hersh Interactive Group, Imagination Capital, Courtside Ventures, and angel investors. Esports investments are hot, and the market is expected to grow to $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion by 2020, according to research firm Newzoo.
The Epics cards include rich media (like the GIF below), stats, in-game items, and digital signatures. You can see one of the cards below.
The Santa Monica, California-based Epics.gg has founders from Xfire, LoLking.net, Esportsify, and Skinz.gg. Epics.gg wants to provide more than cards of esports players and online influencers — it also wants to create an integrated marketplace and trading system enabling users to buy, sell, and build collections.
“Relics are unique Epics cards that combine in-game items from games like Counter-Strike that have actually been used by esports legends in major competitions,” said Gavin Weeks, cofounder of Epics.gg, in an email. “We provide a process and software to certify that these items were indeed used by the player specified and the event in which they were used. If users find these cards in an Epics pack, they also receive the in-game item and can use it when they play the game. This is the first time that any fan can own a one of a kind piece of esports history.”
Epics.gg deals in certified digital memorabilia, such as in-game skins (like a uniform in a game) used by their favorite players in major esports events. Previously, there was no way to certify or prove that a skin was used by a specific esports star or influencer, limiting the collectible aspect of this valuable market. Now users can purchase a skin tied to a card, certified by Epics, and can use it in a game.
While the esports market is nascent, the collectibles market is close to $400 billion worldwide, with the sports collectibles market accounting for most of this. Epics.gg targets the overlap in both markets.
“We combined our favorite childhood hobby with modern technology for the ultimate user experience,” said Epics.gg cofounder Mark Donovan in a statement. ”We’re incredibly excited to enable fans and collectors to own a piece of esports history, including skins from Counter-Strike.”
Jens Hilgers, Bitkraft Esports Ventures founding partner, said in a statement trading cards are a missing piece of the esports market. Goldman said his investment in Epics.gg showed his fund’s commitment to investing in companies that cater to the esports generation.