Zlatan Ibrahimovic invests in esports startup Challengermode.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing for MUFC.

Challengermode, a Swedish tech startup and online competitive gaming platform, recently closed a new round of funding of $1.3m (£1.03m) with Zlatan Ibrahimović amongst the investors. Challengermode was founded in 2014 and allows gamers to compete for money in esport titles like CS:GO and League of Legends.

Challengermode Logo

It’s the United star’s second investment into the gaming industry, so it doesn’t come as much of a suprise. Back in September 2016, Ibrahimovic acquired a 12.5 percent stake in game development studio, Ice Cube.

Investing in an esports-related company, Ibrahimovic is following in the footsteps of the legendary Brazilian Ronaldo, who in January 2016 acquired a 50 percent stake of Brazilian esports club CNB e-Sports.

Zlatan was joined by Swedish internet entreprenerus Jonas Nordlander and Filip Engelbert, as they club together $1.3m to invest in Challengermode. 
The news of this investment comes just days after Gerard Pique, a centre-back for the catalan giants, FC Barcelona, announced that he was involved in the creation of a huge esports project that will launch soon.

Robel Efrem, CEO & Founder of Challengermode commented: “The company has quickly grown to become a leading actor in the Northern European esports scene, working with major partners. Twitch, Nordea and Save the Children are a few of them.”

He continued to say:

“We are now seeing the next phase of esports going mainstream around the world, and we couldn’t be more excited by the brands and investors who have chosen to join us in creating tools for players and brands alike to thrive in this booming field.”

My opinion

Zlatan, personality and brand wise, is easily one of the biggest in world football, yet he’s noticed the opportunity in esports. And it’s incredibly exciting. It’s not a secret that big sports stars have taken an interest in esports, with Neymar playing CS:GO with SK Gaming team, and long may it continue. The scene is only going to continually grow until it becomes an unstoppable force, and something which can’t be ignored.

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