The first esports company to join Techstars as part of its Indianapolis-based sports accelerator—a program designed to scale sports technology startups from around the world—announced this week that it has closed on a $2.5 million pre-seed round of funding.
Beastcoast, a professional e-sports team and digital media company that was a member of the 2020 Techstars cohort, established a training site here, and company officials said the money it has raised will allow it to grow its presence here and elsewhere.
Beastcoast officials told IBJ that in addition to its local training site, the firm plans to locate retail space in Indianapolis to sell merchandise and use as a content production facility.
The recently announced capital raise included participation from Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures, Bloomington-based Flywheel Fund, Philadelphia-based Andover Ventures and Techstars, along with angel investors Scott Dorsey, managing partner at Indianapolis-based High Alpha Ventures, and Steven Temares, formerly of Bed Bath & Beyond.
Beastcoast co-founder and CEO Brian Anderson is a graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. He developed Beastcoast’s business model while working in finance.
As he conducted due diligence on the esports industry, Anderson discovered an opportunity to move away from the traditional model for physical sports—in which media rights, box office, merchandising and sponsorships drive revenue—to an integrated model that monetizes the content itself. The content advertising market size of esports is estimated at $400 billion. Beastcoast’s success is powered by close relationships with a roster of top-level pro players with extensive fan bases.
Anderson said the company already has 1.5 million subscribers.
Anderson said that the new money has facilitated expanding its content creation team, acquiring a North American Rainbow 6 Siege Pro League slot, and expanding internationally into South American Dota 2. Beastcoast currently has 28 professional gamers and influencers on its roster.
Beastcoast has plans to kick off its seed round of fundraising in the second quarter to expand into additional titles, grow its sales and marketing organizations and acquire a dedicated studio facility. Beastcoast hopes to raise another $4 million or more in its seed round.
“We are so excited to see where this next year takes us,” Anderson said. “Esports monetization is fundamentally broken, and it’s with the support of our amazing investors and partners that Beastcoast is trying to solve some of the problems plaguing underperforming organizations and gaming media companies.”
Beastcoast’s investors are equally excited.
“We are excited to join Beastcoast in their efforts to transform the esports industry,” Eric Steele, Elevate Ventures entrepreneur-in-residence, said in a prepared statement. “They have built a strong team and have established themselves as a potential market leader within a booming industry.”
Founded in 2017, Beastcoast has offices in New York, Las Vegan and Lima, Peru, in addition to Indianapolis.