Oct 10, 2019

Esports developer Nerd Street Gamers raises $12 million in funding

Nerd Street Gamers, a Philadelphia-based developer of local training and competition facilities for esports, raised $12 million in Series A funding.

Why it matters: Esports has been growing ahead of its physical infrastructure, so back-build is needed to protect existing investments — both on the professional and amateur sides.

  • Discount retailer Five Below led and was joined by return backers Comcast, SeventySix Capital and Elevate Capital.

The bottom line: "As part of the deal, Five Below and Nerd Street Gamers will build 3,000-square-foot Localhost spaces connected to select Five Below locations, beginning with a multi-store pilot in 2020. Based on what they learn from the pilot, the companies will determine future rollout plans, which could include 70 or more locations over the next several years," ⁠writes Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat.

Go deeper

Inside the esports investment boom

lllustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ever been at a party where you just felt you didn't belong? Now imagine that there are over 13,000 people at the party. That was me recently at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center while filming an "Axios on HBO" segment about professional esports.

The big picture: It was the final match of Overwatch League, which mimics traditional pro sports leagues by having geographically based teams. Over its first two seasons those teams have all played out of an Activision Blizzard-owned arena in LA, but next year, they'll move to home venues.

Go deeperArrowOct 21, 2019

4-time Olympian believes esports will become part of Olympic Games

Axios' Dan Primack talks with Angela Ruggiero. Photo: Axios on HBO

Angela Ruggiero, a four-time Olympian and former member of the International Olympic Committee executive board, believes that esports will eventually become part of the Olympic Games.

The state of play: Don't expect gold medals in Fortnite or Overwatch, due to both IOC rules about profit and fears that what's popular in 2020 might no longer be popular in 2024. Instead, she says a nonprofit governing federation might develop its own game for Olympic competition.

Cannabis companies could be facing cash crisis

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Marijuana companies may be in serious trouble, as their declining stock prices are putting the cash-reliant businesses in a bind.

Why it matters: "Dealmaking is already slowing, while debt is becoming scarce and more expensive," writes the Wall Street Journal.

Go deeperArrowNov 5, 2019