Last week marked a major milestone in Community Gaming’s history — the closing of our $16 million Series A funding round led by SoftBank. We brought together an incredible group of investors that also included Animoca Brands, Binance Labs, BITKRAFT Ventures, Griffin Gaming Partners, CoinFund, Hashed, Multicoin Capital, Shima Capital, Polygon Studios, and ConsenSys Mesh. It’s a massive investment, but before we dig into what that means going forward, I wanted to briefly reflect on Community Gaming’s growth these past few years, a maturation process that’s allowed us to help shape the future relationships between esports and crypto, tournaments and blockchain, gaming and work.
Community Gaming wasn’t created as a technology company, a payment processor, or a blockchain-enabled platform. Back in 2019, Community Gaming was a grassroots organizer of gamers who wanted to share their passion with other people. Prior to the pandemic, Community Gaming was the largest in-person esports events company in New York City — but as our tournaments became more popular, we began to see the cracks in community-driven esports infrastructure, particularly around efficient, on-time prizing payouts.
To better address our operational needs, we stopped using several fragmented platforms in favor of building our own. This new seamless, all-encompassing process expanded our community, simplifying our service so gamers could focus more on the things that mattered, and less on worrying about if they’d be paid correctly (or at all). Creating and participating in an esports tournament was never easier, and by leveraging blockchain-based smart contracts, Community Gaming players received instantaneous payouts into their digital wallets, no matter the amount.
Before COVID, Community Gaming events were starting to actualize this “weekend warrior” fantasy we had, where skilled gamers could consistently earn some money on the side, even if their talent level or outside responsibilities wouldn’t allow them to compete in esports full-time. And as COVID forced a global reconsideration of work, we knew that the Community Gaming platform could scale into a supportive earnings avenue for these displaced users. We could continue creating state-of-the-art tournaments in a remote setting, while expanding the use cases of our proprietary technology.
With that philosophy in mind, Community Gaming was able to successfully raise $2.3 million in funding last July. That investment enabled us to offer more tournaments, continue building out the platform and expand our global staff, which raised the ceiling on our ambitions. We expanded our partner list to include Riot Games, Moonton, Sky Mavis, Polygon and MakerDAO, among many others. The investment helped fund over $100,000 in grants from our Foundation, empowering exceptional organizers from around the world with financial inclusion and supercharging their existing events. Thanks to our expertise in both esports and crypto industries, we’re already bridging the gap between gaming companies that might be hesitant to enter the crypto space, and crypto companies who recognize that gamers are the audience primed to be first adopters of web3 tech.
But now, with the closing of our sizable Series A, it’s time to think bigger. In 2022 and beyond, we intend to expand our reach into the play-to-earn space, reinforcing one of our core philosophies with innovative blockchain technology. Play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity and Skyweaver are paving the way for a new approach to work, one that meshes with the games we already play. We’re finding our efforts to be particularly resonant in Southeast Asia and Latin America, the latter of which has been historically underserved relative to the size and fervor of its esports fanbase. The Series A funding will help expand our efforts in those regions, jumpstarting job creation, local business engagement, and flagship competitive events, while keeping the Foundation well endowed.
Additionally, we plan on finally incorporating a play-to-earn system directly into the Community Gaming platform, where users can quest and earn to meet their needs. It’s the realization of ‘Earnings for Everyone’ — a practice that ensures our users are rewarded for their action and time. To boost this “Quest” initiative, we’re expanding our dev team and updating our platform to better interface with Web3 tech. Keep an eye out for more information on “Quests” over the next few weeks.
None of this would have been possible without you, our loyal community of gamers. We hope to honor your incredible fandom as we achieve new milestones and continue to grow.