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20 Emerging Esports Startups in 2021

Global esport revenue is forecasted to hit $1.08B this year — a year-over-year increase of 14.5%.

And that number is set to reach $1.6B by 2024.

Also, industry analysts project that the global esports audience will grow to 577.2 million people by 2024.

With that, we’ve prepared a list of disruptive esports startups, along with key company data and search growth metrics.

1. G-Loot

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5-year search growth: 3700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Funding: $98.6M (Venture Round)

What they do: G-Loot is an esports platform for PC gamers. Besides monetary rewards, the platform also provides in-app performance stats to train and improve each user’s gaming skills. Following a funding round in October 2020, the startup reached a valuation of $143 million and now has a team of over 120 employees.

2. Challengermode

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5-year search growth: 750%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Funding: $18M (Venture Round)

What they do: Challengermode is a hosting platform for esports competitions. The company’s platform enables gamers to join tournaments ranked by skill level, participate in community discussions and connect with professional coaches.

3. PlayVS

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5-year search growth: 2000%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $106.2M (Series C)

What they do: PlayVS operates an esports platform for students in high schools and colleges. The company’s software provides an end-to-end solution, including skill-based scheduling, stats, and tournament support.

4. Mobalytics

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5-year search growth: 8000%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Funding: $13.9M (Series A)

What they do: Mobalytics offers a personal gaming assistant for competitive gamers. The company’s software solutions leverage machine learning algorithms and API data to determine the strengths and weaknesses of specific players in a certain game.

5. Mobile Premier League

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5-year search growth: 975%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: Bengaluru, India

Funding: $225.5M (Series D)

What they do: Mobile Premier League is a mobile gaming platform with cash prizes. The platform offers more than 60 games to choose from. MPL currently has over 63.5 million users across India and Indonesia. Following its most recent funding round for $95M in February 2021, the startup reached a valuation of $945M.

6. 100 Thieves

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5-year search growth: 361%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $60M (Series B)

What they do: 100 Thieves manages a network of professional eSports teams. They also sell branded merchandise. The company’s teams compete in multiple video games, including League of Legends, Fortnite, and Call of Duty. At a valuation of $190 million, 100 Thieves is currently ranked as the 5th most valuable eSports company.

7. Nerd Street Gamers

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5-year search growth: 4200%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Funding: $25.3M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Nerd Street Gamers operates a network of esports facilities across the US. The company reports that its user base has increased by 218% since 2019.

8. eFuse

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5-year search growth: 75%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2018

Location: Columbus, OH

Funding: $7.4M (Series Unknown)

What they do: eFuse is a social network for gamers. The company’s platform helps users find esports opportunities, including tournaments, jobs, scholarships, and events.

9. Talon Esports

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5-year search growth: 2100%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Hong Kong

Funding: $2M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Talon Esports is an esports organization with teams competing in League of Legends, Arena of Valor and Overwatch. They’re also the tournament operator for Valorant and Wild Rift in Asia. Besides their esports segment, the company sells merchandise, including its most recent product release with Paris Saint-German Esports.

10. MCES

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5-year search growth: 280%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: Marseille, France

Funding: $4.8M (Series A)

What they do: MCES operates an esports gaming academy with clubs in France. The esports startup also manages 11 competitive gamer teams. Besides esports training sessions, the center offers diploma courses to develop skills as an esports professional.

11. Generation Esports

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5-year search growth: 5000%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2012

Location: Kansas City, MO

Funding: $10.8M (Series A)

What they do: Generation Esports organizes esports events for high school audiences. The company’s software helps schools manage esports experiences, including features to manage users, teams, and community chats. More than 100,000 students across over 3,100 schools use the product.

12. Envy Gaming

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5-year search growth: 16%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2007

Location: Dallas, TX

Funding: $60M (Series C)

What they do: Envy Gaming operates an esports franchise (Team Envy) with 8 competitive teams. The company also produces content and streams across several games, including Call of Duty, CS:GO, Super Smash Bros.

13. GRID Esports

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5-year search growth: 3000%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: Berlin, Germany

Funding: $10M (Series A)

What they do: GRID is an esports data platform. Their software has a predictive modeling feature that processed data from 12,905 live matches and 233 tournaments in 2020 alone. GRID’s set of customizable widgets also helps visualize the data that it generates.

14. Epulze

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5-year search growth: 283%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2017

Location: Örebro, Sweden

Funding: $6.64M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Epulze operates an esports platform with stake-to-play challenges. Amateur gamers can participate in Dota 2, CS:GO, Valorant tournaments to win cash prizes.

15. Beastcoast

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5-year search growth: 3700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: New York, NY

Funding: $2.5M (Pre-Seed Round)

What they do: Beastcoast is an esports organization that operates a gaming content network and manages several esports teams. The company’s content presence spans 14 channels, which generate millions of views per month.

16. Fnatic

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5-year search growth: -44%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2004

Location: London, United Kingdom

Funding: $55.8M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Fnatic manages several esports teams (with 37 professional gamers). They also run a gaming gear and apparel brand. Fnatic reported an 80% year-over-year increase in revenue in 2021. The startup currently has over 33 million followers on social media.

17. ORDER Esports

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5-year search growth: 3700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Funding: $4.5M (Series Unknown)

What they do: ORDER is an esports organization that has teams competing across 5 different game titles. Thanks to a partnership with Puma, the startup also now offers a collection of merchandise. Following a recent funding round in April 2021, the company plans to open its own gaming venue.

18. Pandascore

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5-year search growth: -100%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Paris, France

Funding: $9M (Seed Round)

What they do: Pandascore is software that provides real-time esports data. Specifically, the company’s software collects data from various streaming platforms. And uses AI to analyze it. According to Pandascore, the product can handle up to 10,000 API requests per hour.

19. Rivalry

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5-year search growth: 45%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: Isle of Man

Funding: $20M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Rivalry is a mobile and PC esport betting platform. According to Rivalry’s CEO, the company grew 10x in 2020. And has 4x growth so far in 2021.

20. EVOS Esports

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5-year search growth: 1271%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2017

Location: Singapore

Funding: $16.4M (Series B)

What they do: EVOS Esports is an esports organization that partners with over 200 players and influencers in Southeast Asia. The company states that revenues from its live-streaming segment have doubled since the beginning of 2020.

Conclusion

That completes our list of 20 growing esports startups.

From high school esports to data analytics, a growing number of funded esports startups are emerging in this space. And are creating an entire ecosystem within the industry.

It will be interesting to follow the journey of those startups and see what the future holds for the esports industry in 2021 and beyond.

Last Updated: 
June 2, 2021
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.

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