ATU Partners, a Seoul, South Korea-based private equity firm, has launched its first USD 17M esports growth fund.
Limited Partners in the The ‘ATU esports Growth Fund’ include leading companies in the game, MCN industry such as Kakao Games and The E&M, as well as institutional investors such as Woori Technology Investment and SB Partners.
The fund will invest in companies in the esports space. According to Goldman Sachs, the esports market is expected to grow from $1bn in 2019 to $2.7bn in 2022. The number of global esports viewers is estimated to be 200 million today and is expected to reach 280 million by 2022.
The fund will be led by Jamie Park, CEO, who – prior to joining ATU – was a consultant at McKinsey & Company and Head of the Global Business at OGN, the world’s first esports broadcasting channel. Mr. Allen Deveoise, top investment expert in media and esports and Managing Director of Third Wave Digital, will serve as Chief Advisor to the fund for access to the North American market and setting up a strategy for the porffolio companies of the vehicle.
Prior to the launch, the fund acquired DRX, which has rebranded from Kingzone Dragon X this October. It is one of the most prestigious League of Legends teams, produced the first place winner in the League of Legends Championship Korea (LCK) competition twice, second place win in the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), and first place win in the 2019 Rift Rivals. DRX also recently signed contracts with two globally renowned players, “Deft” (Bot, Hyeokgyu Kim) and “Chovy” (Mid, Jihoon Jung), as well as the head coach of “cvMax” (Daeho Kim).
In addition, it recently invested in Los Angeles based AZYT, one of the top three esports agencies in the world. Established in June 2018 under the name eBuff, AZYT holds an official talent agency license in California and has signed contracts with 70 plus esports players including “Crown”, “Crazy” in LOL, and “Edison” and “Mentalist” in Overwatch. The agency expects to expand its player base to over 100 by the end of next year.