This company, which generates around 60% of its revenues in euros and US dollars, owns two world-class clubs: SK and Virtus Pro. It also controls 14 websites; 209 social media groups and video production studios; the event organizer Epic eSports Events; CyberBase, the largest eSports global database; as well as trading and analytics platforms.
ESforce is also behind Yota Arena, a huge eSports tournament venue in Moscow, and Fragstore, a merchandising retailer present in 20 countries, according to the company.
In 2017, these businesses attracted 116 million users with 440 million sessions and over 120 million hours watched of online content via streaming platforms, according to Mail.Ru Group’s press-release. The revenues of that year are expected to be around $19 million, up 150% from 2016. However, ESforce had negative EBITDA in 2017, estimated at $15 million.
ESforce’s acquisition — still subject to third party approvals — is expected to close in Q1 2018. Mail.ru Group intends to acquire 100% of ESforce in an all cash transaction; the amount has been defined as being “$100 million less any outstanding debt at closing, with a further KPI-based payment, likely to be around $20 million, at the end of 2018.”
Commenting on the acquisition, Mail.Ru Group CEO (Russia) Boris Dobrodeev said: “The very obvious strategic fit with Mail.Ru Group needs little explanation and we will be looking to leverage our unrivalled position inside of the social networks and gaming in order to drive ESforce to even greater success.”
A mobile operator in the running
Just days before, MTS, a leading Russian mobile operator, announced the acquisition of Praliss Enterprises, the parent company of Gambit Esports, for an undisclosed amount.
Gambit Esports has four teams (16 players in total) participating in the most popular cyber game disciplines: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), League of Legends (LoL), Dota 2 and FIFA. Gambit Esports teams have repeatedly earned world and European championship titles, as well as silver and bronze medals, in the largest international competitions. The club owns such exclusive assets as rights to participate in prestigious international tournaments, an own production of branded clothing and a studio for creating media content.
The primary sources of the club’s income are sponsorship contracts, prizes, sales of brand attributes and digital goods, remuneration for participation in leagues, as well as transfer revenues, according to MTS.
Gambit Esports will retain its 16 players and its staff while its CEO Konstantin Pikiner will continue leading the project as Chief Gaming Officer at MTS. The teams and players will continue competing at the international arena under Gambit Esports brand name.
“Our cybersport strategy includes marketing initiatives, as well as development of new products for gamers and their fans. To achieve these goals, we have created a separate eSports division within the company’s Innovation Center,” MTS stated.
The operator intends to “utilize the opportunities offered by Gambit Esports for branding purposes” and to “offer sponsorship cooperation to interested corporate partners.”
A blockchain platform to reward eSports viewers
Meanwhile, Play2Live (P2L), a startup with roots in Belarus and Russia launched last year, is making its first steps on the eSports scene. It has just launched 24/7 live rebroadcasts in six languages: English, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese.
The platform also wants to attract eSports aficionados by increasing Internet speed. Play2Live is in the process of deploying blockchain-based decentralized P2P networks. Thus, users of the same content will join together to pool their own resources and bandwidth.
The startup also aims to “create a new economy” based on a revenue-sharing model. “Streamers will be able to monetize their content in 11 ways vs. just four or five on existing streaming platforms. They can earn right from their very first stream, regardless of the size of their follower base,” Play2Live’s founder and CEO Alexey Burdyko told East West Digital News.
Viewers, on their side, can monetize their content in several ways — a first in the eSports video-streaming industry, claims Play2Live.
“They can earn money by watching ads, performing tasks set by streamers, voting for content, and sharing their internet bandwidth via peer-to-peer CDN. Viewers may also place bets with bookmakers without leaving the P2L site, and purchase games using tokens,” said Burdyko.
Called Level Up Coin (LUC), these tokens will be the only mean of payment in use on the platform. They can be converted to other cryptocurrencies or to fiat money through a gateway/API.
A $1.5 billion market
The global eSports industry reached $1.5 billion and is forecasted to grow up to $ 2.3 billion in 2020, according to data from Superdata Research cited by MTS.
Another research by PayPal and Superdata Research indicates that the Russian eSports market (the second largest in Europe after Sweden) amounted to $35.4 million in 2016.
In 2016 the Russian government officially recognized eSports (also known as “competitive video gaming” or “computer sports” in Russian) as a sport discipline. Cyber-athletes can thus receive such official titles as “Master of Sports of Russia,” “International Master of Sports” and “Honored Master of Sports of Russia.”
In 2015, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov announced an investment of “$100 million or more” in Virtus.pro. More recently Winstrike, a Russian globally-oriented eSports company, attracted $10 million from private investor Nikolai Belykh and several business angels.
Source: East-West Digital News
GVA is recognized as the TOP CHALLENGER according to the UBI Global World rankings of University-linked Business Incubators and Accelerators.
The article on Vedomosti on cooperation between corporations and start-ups. Among examples, there are three GVA's accelerators: Mega Accelerator, PepsiCo LAB and Faberlic FMCG Accelerator.
“Stock investors can’t invest in Uber, but they can invest in Nasdaq-listed Yandex, owner of Russia’s top ride-hailing platform,” writes WSJ reporter Stephen Wilmot, referring to the Yandex.Taxi platform.
The first face-to-face event in the framework of the StartUp Kazakhstan – program orientation took place in innovation cluster of Tech Garden in Almaty on February 1-2. On the first day General Director of the Autonomous cluster Fund "PIT" (Tech Garden) Sanzhar Kettebekov and CEO of Global Venture Alliance Zamir Shukhov addressed to the participants with the introductory speech.
How do the local startup scenes look like in Estonia, Poland, Russia, Ukraine — but also in less known countries, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Moldova, to Georgia? How much do VCs invest these countries? Are corporations involved in these emerging ecosystems? Which are the most well-funded startups, and which younger ones should be followed? Why do so many ICOs come from Eastern Europe?
GVA’s partner Pavel Luksha, founder Global Education Futures and professor at Moscow School of Management, has a new report out on what graduates should know and be able to do. “Skills of the Future: How to Thrive in the Complex New World” was developed with WorldSkills Russia during sessions of the Atlas of Emerging Jobs project. The report is a thoughtful review of global trends, changes in work and concludes with implications for education. Not a continuation of the present, the authors “believe that mankind should take a serious approach towards the formation of a desired image of the future.”
On January 22 during the official visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev to the USA the autonomous cluster fund Tech Garden signed a number of important agreements with American companies on the digitization of the economy of Kazakhstan.
At the international GELP Moscow 2017 Summit, which was held in Moscow on 1st to 3rd of November, leaders of Russian and foreign education from 12 states outlined practical steps for systematical change of the global educational environment, taking into account the existing global challenges of civilization.
Global Venture Alliance took part in a closed round table session organized by Forbes Russia.
The authoritative international alliance Global Education Leaders` Partnership (GELP), which influences the development of school education abroad, for the first time, chose Russia as a meeting point for leaders and experts of the world educational community. The official operator of GELP is the Global Venture Alliance.
Global Venture Alliance is the general sponsor of the event on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the magazine Forbes.
The Global Venture Alliance team on October 17 at the international forum "Open Innovations 2017" in Skolkovo organized a closed signing between RZhD, IBM, NES and NCC in the field of transport logistics.
IKEA Centers Russia and GVA have identified 9 start-ups that will go into the MEGA Accelerator business incubator. Theese are Altair VR virtual planetarium, mobile application Save4time, virtual bot MRBot, VR-platform Hexa, interactive game Ligrook, time scheduler Verme, HR-robot Robot Vera, corporate messenger Beesender and IT-service for lawyers Bots & Partners. This was reported to Firrma in IKEA Centres Russia.
Tim Cook has not-so-subtly hinted that Apple is working on some sort of augmented reality product. And while ARKit may be the start, a patent application published today hints at what Apple could be picturing down the road.
Apple has teamed up with Australian-based Cochlear to bring iPhone users the first made for iPhone Cochlear implant.
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June, Cochlear’s Nucleus 7 Sound Processor can now stream sound directly from a compatible iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to the sound processor.
Google’s London-based AI outfit DeepMind has created two different types of AI that can use their ‘imagination’ to plan ahead and perform tasks with a higher success rate than AIs without imagination. Sorry if I made you click because you wanted AIs predicted flying cars. I promise this is cool too.
Scientists at MIT are using Wi-Fi and AI to determine your emotional state. They’ve created an algorithm that can detect and measure individual heartbeats by bouncing RF signals off of people.
Yep. Glass is back.