Competitive gaming platform Nicecactus.gg has raised $5.5 million to build a platform that will enable amateur and semi-pro esports athletes to improve their skills and eventually win sponsors. The Nice, France-based Nicecactus is creating a grassroots esports sponsorship fund, putting in $1.1 million.

A group of private investors led the funding. Following a period of training on the Nicecactus.gg platform, the fund will accept applications from esports athletes for grants, which may be put towards activities like travel to and accommodation at tournaments they’ve qualified for, or to book boot camps at professional training locations.

Following a review of each application, Nicecactus will award grants to those who have shown promise and consistency in tournaments and on Nicecactus.gg’s soon-to-be-launched training game programs. Nicecactus.gg has 460,000 registered users.

The key program dates are:

  • October 22: registrations for the Nicecactus Grassroots Esports Fund start at nicecactus.gg/en/fund.
  • December 20: Road to Sponsorship opens for registered participants.
  • January 27: fund application process opens for eligible athletes.
  • February 27: first grants are issued.
Nicecactus grassroots esports fund.

Above: Nicecactus grassroots esports fund.

Image Credit: Nicecactus.gg

“We deeply believe that if esports wants to enter the next stage of growth, it must be catered to and fostered at the grassroots level. By starting the Nicecactus Grassroots Esports Fund and raising additional capital to help unleash the full potential of every esports athlete, we further solidify our commitment to finding and raising the next generation of esports athletes,” said Alexandre Amoukteh, cofounder of Nicecactus.gg, in a statement. “Our new name, Nicecactus, reflects our love for Nice, France — the bright, beautiful and sharp birthplace of our company. We want to create a place where everyone can forge their own path to pro by improving their skills and connecting amateur players with the pro world. Armed with our new name, funding and a new product, we’re one step closer to achieving that dream.”

The company was founded in 2017, and it has 47 employees. Nicecactus.gg works across multiple top competitive titles, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and FIFA, and alongside industry-leading competitive brands (including DreamHack, G2 Esports, AS Monaco and Magic Gaming), to offer a supportive environment for professional growth and development for every gamer.

Nicecactus.gg offers both a freemium subscription service and a premium subscription service to its users. The premium subscription gives users access to pro-player-authored guides, coaching sessions, and premium tournaments. The tournaments hosted on the Nicecactus platform can also be sponsored by game publishers looking to strengthen their grassroots community, or professional organizations looking for fresh talent.