Esports Startup VSPN Secures Tencent-Led $100M Funding

Esports Startup VSPN Secures Tencent-Led $100M Funding

UTC by Benjamin Godfrey · 3 min read
Esports Startup VSPN Secures Tencent-Led $100M Funding
Photo: VSPN / Twitter

The move by Tencent to take a defining position in VSPN is based on the latter’s long term business focus.

Shanghai-based esports startup Versus Programming Network (VSPN) has secured almost $100 million in a Series B funding round. According to TechCrunch, the funding round was led by Tencent Holdings Ltd (HKG: 0700), arguably the world’s leader in esports services, and the other funding secured by VSPN came from SIG (Susquehanna International Group), Tiantu Capital as well as Kuaishou.

Gaming events have taken a mainstream position since the pandemic broke out with its ensuing lockdowns and the funding secured by VSPN is an attestation to the continued growth in the industry. As noted by VSPN, the funding secured will be deployed to enhance the platform’s content creation capabilities, in building a VSPN unique esports short-form video ecosystem while stretching its capacity to reach and connect with more gamers across all platforms.

“After this funding round, we look forward to building an esports research institute, an esports culture park, and further expanding globally. VSPN has a long-term vision and is dedicated to the sustainable development of the global esports ecosystem,” VSPN Chief Executive Officer Dino Ying said in a statement. He added that the growth in VSPN can be traced to the undying commitment of the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, and Xi’an to the development of the esports ecosystem. This alone has restored investor’s confidence which was reflective in the pumping of cash into VSPN.

The move by Tencent to take a defining position in VSPN is based on the latter’s long term business focus, of which Tencent’s General Manager of Esports, Mars Hou has noted that is key for “for Tencent to optimize the layout of the esports industry’s development.” 

VSPN has been amongst the industry leaders making its debut in 2016, the company has advanced to producing offline gaming venues amongst other innovative ideas being rolled into the esports market space to drive further inclusion.

Esports Growth Not Peculiar to VSPN

The esports market place has grown beyond borders and across all regions in 2020, implying that the attraction of investors is not peculiar to VSPN alone. Earlier this month, esports giant Guild Esports backed by former English football legend David Beckham raised £20 million in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) through the London Stock Exchange.

The raising of funds is an indication of increasing investors’ interest in this fast growing ecosystem and many use this funding round to bolster their positions against imminent competitions. Back in May as the lockdowns were still biting hard, Verasity’s Gamestore added three major functionalities to its esports games. With the additions, Verasity’s users can bet on their favorite teams in private and public modes while also being able to host third party tournaments.

The continuous growth and development in esports signified by the pumping of cash into the industry will go a long way to plunge the marketplace into the mainstream in the next couple of years. 

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