Zengaming gets $2.8M in funding to expand its social network for the esports business

Competitive gaming is growing quickly, and one of the sites trying to make your dreams of going pro a reality is building up to serve the future of esports.

Zengaming, a social network for gamers looking to make a name for themselves in the esports world, has raised $2.8 million in funding. Crown Resorts Limited, a casino and entertainment company, led the round as it pushes further into the video game space. Other investors include financial firms NFX Guild, 500 Startups, iAngels, and Foundation Capital along with angel investors Barak Rabinowitz and Shmueli Ahdut. Zengaming will use this influx of cash to bring on new talent and to expand its support for important esports games like Dota 2, League of Legends, and Starcraft. Pro gaming is on pace to generate $463 million in revenues this year primarily from sponsorships and marketing, and Zengaming is trying to position itself as a strong link between that money and the players.

“We are extremely excited about this financing round,” Zengaming chief executive Jimi Gecelter said in a canned statement. “When we started zengaming, we knew that we were answering a real need within the esports community: a professional network to find and interact with other players.”

Like LinkedIn, Zengaming wants its members to see the site as a path to future income. The idea is that you can compete in games and your results will show up on Zengaming and other teams might notice and recruit you based on your profile. Additionally, the site also hosts sponsors who may want to connect with top players for potential sponsorships. The company claims it now has more than 1 million active users for the military shooter Counter-Strike alone. It is actively testing communities for Dota 2, Rocket League, and more.

“Even we were surprised by how widespread our success was, gaining such an impressive amount of active users within a year,” continued Gecelter. “Partnering up with Crown, which has already hosted the biggest eSports tournament in Australia, with professional teams such as Cloud9 and Virtus.Pro, is an important strategic step that will help zengaming continue its expansion, and position itself as a leader in the esports industry.”


This article originally appeared on VentureBeat

Equity Crowdfunding Platform iAngels Quickly Records First Exit

iAngels, the only co-investment platform in Israel that enables private investors to gain access to exclusive early-stage opportunities by collaborating with Startup Nation’s leading angels, announced today that portfolio company Big Blue Parrot has been acquired by mobile gaming giant Playtika. The social gaming platform is the first iAngels investment to return capital to its shareholders, less than a year after the initial investment.

“Co-investing with Israel’s smartest investors means we’re investing in the highest quality entrepreneurs Israel has ever seen,” said Mor Assia, Founding Partner at iAngels. “We knew from our first conversations with Big Blue Parrot that the team and platform would make for an attractive acquisition target.”

Big Blue Parrot was founded in 2010 by Gilad Almog, Gal Weizenberg and Daniel Rechter. After reaching initial traction, Big Blue Parrot went on to raise $2.5M from Gigi Levy, Rami Lipman, Haim Blecher, and iAngels to grow its user base and enhance the platform.

“iAngels provided us with counsel and content regarding messaging, positioning, and deal structure,” remarked Gilad Almog, CEO of Big Blue Parrot. “It was a pleasure working with the iAngels team and I tell any startup who comes to me for fundraising advice to approach iAngels”

Playtika’s acquisition of Big Blue Parrot marks yet another exit for Israel’s most prolific angel Gigi Levy.

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Israeli Gaming Giant Playtika acquires Tel Aviv-based Big Blue Parrot

Israel-based Playtika, one of the biggest players in the digital gaming market, is reasserting its dominance with the acquisition of Big Blue Parrot (BBP), a company behind the successful app Poker Friends. The amount was undisclosed, though it is likely not too small a price for Playtika to maintain its marketshare. Co-founder and CEO Robert Antokol called it the fifth successful major acquisition for his company in a few short years.


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