London esports platform Midnite raises over £2 million in
|The investment is
led by gaming-focused venture firm Makers Fund, and previous investors in
include London VC firm Venrex Investment Management, as well as unnamed
founders and executives from leading gaming companies, including
Betfair and GVC.
The new round brings the total raised by the
2016-founded company from the same team behind daily fantasy football app
Dribble to around $4.5 million.
The esports market is seeing
rapid year-on-year growth and we believe that betting represents the single
biggest opportunity in this space, Midnite co-fonder Nick Wright tells
TechCrunch. Wagering on esports is expected to exceed $12 billion by the
end of 2020, making betting already one of the fastest-growing verticals within
However, despite the size of opportunity, Wright says
that for most big sports betting sites, esports is just another tab
in their legacy sports betting offering, but that esports fans are not simply
just another type of sports fan. They are an entirely new customer
category and deserve a platform tailored to them, he says. This is
why Midnite exists.
With that in mind, Wright pitches Midnite as
an entertainment platform that provides an immersive experience for
esports fans. He says fans get the thrill of watching, analyzing and betting on
their favorite teams and players as they face off in tournaments around the
Noteworthy, although operating in an invite-only beta, the
startup has already acquired a betting license in the U.K., which Wright claims
is the biggest betting market in the world.
He says this makes
Midnite the only dedicated esports betting platform that accepts customers in
the U.K, and that the company is focused on operating globally in jurisdictions
that can legally accept customers. [We] are acquiring additional licenses
to do so, he adds.
In the past, betting on esports has
been carried out by unregulated operators, which meant that the unregulated
market was several times bigger than the regulated market. Many operators
offering esports betting would not be licensed, were not taking responsible
gambling seriously or even performing age verification checks. This meant
customers want to bet on esports were often placing themselves at risk.
We are creating a safe and responsible environment for these
fans. Customer safety is our top priority and we are taking it very seriously.
We are doing everything by the book to ensure our community is safeguarded and
are compliant with all the regulations in markets where we are
The is no stopping the rise of
eSports progamers and other titles will be joining soon.
2013 saw the US Government issue the first P-1 visas to League of
Legend players making them officially players in a professional sport. The visa
finally stops the inevitable battle to gain entry into the US and gives the
holder the right to stay up 5 years and a whole team for a period of 6
The official League of Legends eSports tournament League
Championship Series was the first to be recognized as a fully professional
eSport by the U.S. State Department. Danny "Shiphtur" Le was the first progamer
to receive a visa acknowledging him as an "internationally recognized" athlete.
For Le, a native of Canada, the visa allowed him to go to the United States for
training ahead of the world championships.
Other eSports players have
been granted visas previously, mostly for one-off events, but Le was the first
who was able to make a salary during his stay. Convincing the visa bureau of
gaming's legitimacy as a pro sport wasn't easy. "We had to get endorsements
from participants and prove that this is a consistent, viable career path and
people can make a living playing games," Riot Games VP Dustin Beck
The P-1 visa is applicable to aliens entering the US to perform in
a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a
team, at an internationally recognised level of performance.