Lucy: As competitive video gaming becomes more mainstream, a new economy is emerging to support the esports ecosystem. Just ask Nicholas “Shifty” Travis.
Dylan: Since November, Travis has been working as a full-time coach for Team Dignitas, a professional esports team owned by the Philadelphia 76ers for which he focuses on the popular game Overwatch. When he’s not coaching for Dignitas, he brings in extra income by offering Overwatch coaching to anyone who’s willing to pay $20 an hour, which is made possible through an esports coaching platform called Gamer Sensei.
Gamers are now spending “many thousands of dollars” on Gamer Sensei to train with coaches (or senseis) like Travis, according to Gamer Sensei COO Jim Drewry, a former executive at WB Games.
That high volume of money running through Gamer Sensei’s platform and other signs of traction have prompted investors to pour more money into the Boston startup, which previously raised a $2.5M seed round last year. On Wednesday, the company announced it has raised a new $4M round from a group of venture capital firms, including lead investors Cambridge-based Accomplice and Norwood-based Advancit Capital.
Gamer Sensei’s latest investment is another sign of investors’ growing interest in the esports market, which brought in $892M in revenue last year and is expected to reach $1.1B in 2018, according to research firm Superdata. One of the largest signs from this year is when it was announced in July that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon bought their own Overwatch teams. Read more: Gamer Sensei Raises $4M for Esports Coaching Platform