This is the full text of Gen.G Esports' April 17th, 2019 press release.
Gen.G continues to expand its footprint as a global esports conglomerate while pushing the space forward in the U.S. market; Silicon Valley Bank named banking partner.
LOS ANGELES, April 17, 2019 -- Gen.G, a premier global esports organization, today announced a $46 million round of funding. The round comprised leading figures in sports entertainment and technology including actor Will Smith, and Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda's Dreamers Fund, Los Angeles Clippers minority owner Dennis Wong, former Chairman of US Investments Alibaba Group Michael Zeisser, and MasterClass Co-Founder and CEO David Rogier. Additional participants include New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Conductive Ventures, Battery Ventures, Canaan Partners, SVB Capital, and Stanford University.
Under the stewardship of CEO Chris Park and recently promoted Chief Operating Officer Arnold Hur, Gen.G continues to forge a distinctive path for esports as the future of global sports entertainment. Gen.G has carefully constructed a broad group of investors who have direct expertise in and passion for combining the best of sports, entertainment, lifestyle, and esports including Chairman of the Board Kevin Chou and Vice Chairmen Kent Wakeford and Phillip Hyun.
"We are grateful for the support of a remarkable group of investors that is as diverse as the future of esports itself," said Park. "Our partners in this round share Gen.G's mission to reimagine sports entertainment as only an authentically global esports organization can."
Smith and Honda will join two-time NBA Champion and current Gen.G Player Management Advisor Chris Bosh in supporting Gen.G's creative and commercial endeavors, guiding the growth of the Gen.G brand and advising Gen.G players and content creators. The capital will support the ongoing expansion of Gen.G's global footprint, which already includes teams in the world's top esports leagues across the US, China, and Korea; the development of Gen.G's youth esports academy program; and the launch of Gen.G's Los Angeles headquarters opening in July 2019.
"I am excited that Dreamers Fund, the fund that I co-launched with Will Smith, is now investing in Gen.G," said Honda. "Esports is not yet big in Japan, but we are seeing tremendous growth there and globally, which is very positive. We decided to invest in Gen. G because of their incredible team and grand vision to become a leader in the space. We truly look forward to working with Gen.G to boost the esports industry around the world."
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has also been named as Gen.G's banking partner and was crucial to this fundraise and investor support, working closely with Gen.G executives behind the scenes to find the right investors, and counsel on all matters of the fundraise. SVB is a trusted partner of Gen.G and many other esports organizations for their venture backing, providing investor relations and financial counsel. SVB and Gen.G will be working together on a variety of upcoming events and content in 2019 and 2020, further establishing the two organizations as industry leaders.
"This is an incredible step for Gen.G and the vision we have for the organization," said Arnold Hur, Chief Operating Officer at Gen.G. "With the support of our new investors, we're excited to bring several priorities to fruition including our LA headquarters, our continued expansion into China, our always evolving player development academy programs and a big priority for us in 2020, which is hosting Dynasty matches in Seoul! There is a lot of work to be done and we are very proud to have these investors on our team."
Today's announcement comes on the heels of a breakthrough year in which Gen.G won world championships in Heroes of the Storm and PUBG, launched a historic all-female Fortnite team featuring Tina Perez (@TINARAES) and Madison Mann (@maddiesuun), introduced high-profile streamer Kristen Valnicek (@KittyPlays) as Head of New Gaming Initiatives, acquired its first Chinese team (Clash Royale), and opened a first-of-its-kind training facility in Seoul, South Korea. Gen.G has built on that momentum in just the first three months of 2019, acquiring teams in Call of Duty (ranked #1 in the CWL Pro League through March) and Apex Legends, and launching its first squad of US-based content creators.
As part of the announcement, Gen.G has also announced the appointment of Martin Kim, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. Martin comes from Major League Baseball, where he served as director of international business development and marketing. Before his stint at MLB, Martin managed corporate and international partnerships for the Los Angeles Dodgers. A trilingual native of Argentina, Kim has a unique background that maps onto Gen.G's Asian-American crossover marketing story. During his tenure in professional baseball, Kim became a trusted advisor for Korean initiatives to both players and clubs, including a stint as an interpreter for South Korean star pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu.
About Gen.G esports
Gen.G esports is a global esports company established in 2017. It has offices in South Korea, the United States, and China. Gen.G owns and operates highly skilled teams competing in the world's biggest esports competitions. Gen.G's Executive Chairman and co-founder Kevin Chou previously co-founded Kabam, a North American mobile game developer that was sold to Netmarble in 2016, and established KSV (now Gen.G). Gen.G is the parent company for Seoul's team in the Overwatch League, and since establishing Seoul Dynasty, Gen.G has acquired and founded a total of eight professional teams competing in Overwatch, League of Legends, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Clash Royale, Fortnite, Call of Duty, and APEX Legends.
Gen.G wants to lead its professional teams to winning world titles while setting a new 'gold standard' of excellence for the global esports industry through premium team development, unrivaled fan engagement, and strategic business partnerships. Gen.G esports has already inked sponsorship deals with Samsung Electronics (Samsung SSD), gaming hardware manufacturer Razer, computer networking company NETGEAR, chair manufacturer SIDIZ, and furniture brand for start-ups DESKER.