FanAI secures $2.5M funding round

2/22/2018 10:45:59 PM EST

Esports audience monetization platform FanAI announced that it has closed on a $2.5 million funding round, bringing its total amount raised to date to $4.5 million.

Top organizations including Cloud9, winners of the recent ELEAGUE Boston Major, OpTic Gaming and the Los Angeles Valiant and New York Excelsior of the Overwatch League are among those who are leveraging the platform. The Cleveland Cavaliers' NBA2K franchise, Cav's Legion GC, is also among FanAI's clients.

FanAI tracks esports fans, influencers, players, teams, tournaments and games. That data enables esports organizations, publishers and others involved in the space to understand, grow and monetize the audience. That includes helping sponsors capitalize on targeted campaigns and helping rights holders monetize their assets, while providing better segmented content to consumers.

"Brands and sponsors are flooding the esports industry, but are still struggling to prove return on investment in order to justify marketing spend. Until now, this was next to impossible within the esports ecosystem," FanAI founder and CEO Johannes Waldstein said in a statement. "FanAI unlocks the value for our esports clients by providing unique purchase behavior and lifestyle data on their fan base, opening the doors for sponsors and brands to invest with confidence."

Santa Monica, California-based FanAI currently has 14 employees. It plans to use the additional funding to expand its current 10-person product and data science team, and optimize sponsorship engagement within esports.

Courtside Ventures and CRCM Ventures led the round, with Bitkraft Esports Ventures, BDS Capital, Catalyst Sports, Deep Space Ventures, Everblue Management, Greycroft GC Tracker Fund, M Ventures, Rosecliff Ventures, and Sterling VC also participating.

"As esports investments have grown by orders of magnitude, the sponsorship ecosystem remains an enormous and untapped opportunity. From teams and publishers to agencies and brands, the lucrative demographic of the gaming industry has sparked a lot of interest," Courtside Ventures partner Deepen Parikh said in a statement. "Johannes and the FanAI team have created a rapidly growing and scalable platform that for the first time enables all parties in the ecosystem to apply actionable data and measurement to their purchasing decisions."

--Field Level Media