The eSport Industry in Stockholm
eSport — defined as professional competitive gaming of any kind — is according to Newzoo the “biggest thing to hit the tech industry since the launch of the iPhone in 2007”.
Last year the eSport industry saw revenues of almost $500 million — up 51% from the year before. By 2019, eSports will be a $1 billion industry. eSports attracted 292 million viewers last year.
It’s no wonder that investors are paying close attention, even investing in actual eSport teams. The graph below shows how investments in eSport have increased in the past years.
Stockholm has every opportunity to become the eSport capital of the world. Two of the main eSport companies (ESL Gaming and Dreamhack) are both owned by Stockholm based Modern Times Group. Some of the worlds biggest eSport stars like GeT_RiGhT and HeatoN are from Stockholm. And finally there a number of eSport startups that are leading the way in the dawn of this fast growing industry.
These are the leading eSport startups in Stockholm:
Challengermode is one of the most established and exciting eSport companies in Stockholm. The Challengermode platform makes it possible for gamers to compete with each other and potentially win prize money. It’s currently the best way to organise tournaments and capitalise on competitions for non-professional players. Their vision in fact is to be the leading eSport platform in the world. With a bold mission, experienced team and an impressive product the company has attracted leading angel investors such as Jonas Nordlander, founder of Avito, and athlete superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The investment from Zlatan is interesting considering that eSports is becoming an established sport like soccer. And just like soccer needs a stadium for cups and tournaments, Challengermode provides the virtual arena where eSport competitions happen.
Wehype was founded in 2016 with the purpose of connecting brands and gamers. Gamers who stream their gaming have a hard time capitalising on their streams, and brands have a hard time reaching the younger generation. Wehype solves this problem by connecting streamers and brands on their platform. Streamers pick the campaigns they like and brands get quality exposure. Wehype was one of the startups selected to the STING accelerator program and also won the worlds first Snapchat pitch competition organised by OneRagTime. Wehype is also co-organizers of the upcoming eSport Meetup.
Znipe is an innovative online streaming platform for professional eSports. The company was founded in July of 2016 and is rapidly expanding. Their platform allows viewers to follow eSport games from several views at the same time. For example, in addition to the main view one could also follow specific players, have a view of the map or have fixed view of the game open simultaneously. Twitch, which is the leading streaming platform for gaming, was acquired by Amazon for $970 million. But Znipe say they are not a direct competitor to Twitch as Twitch focuses more on casual gaming and Znipe is more focused on hardcore fans, wanting to become “the Netflix for eSport” according to co-founder Johan Ryman.
Betspawn is a platform for real-money eSports betting services. The company was founded in 2015 and was selected to The Springfield Project’s accelerator program in 2016.
DRKN is a leading clothing company and streetwear brand inspired by the gaming community and the digital culture.
Strafe is an eSports companion app that helps you track news, schedules and results for your favorite teams. The company raised $1.53 Million in 2016 and aims to have a million monthly active users by the end of 2017. One of the key people behind Strafe is Andreas Thorstensson, former Counter-Strike world champion and tech partner at the leading investment firm EQT Ventures. Andreas is also speaking at the upcoming eSport meetup.
If you want to know more about where the eSport industry is going, and what’s happening specifically in Stockholm, make sure to check out the upcoming eSport Meetup 26 of April.
Joseph Michael is the head of startups/tech at Invest Stockholm, a part of City of Stockholm. Would you like to engage with the eSport industry in Stockholm? Get in touch.