ATU Partners has launched a $17 million Asia-based esports private equity fund. The limited partners of the fund include Kakao Games, Woori Technology Investment and SB Partners.
SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — ATU Partners (“ATU”) has launched Asia’s first esports private equity fund, according to Jamie Park, CEO of ATU. The ‘ATU esports Growth Fund’ (the “Fund”) seeks to invest in companies in the esports space.
The Fund is the first of its kind in Asia that is solely dedicated to investing in esports related companies. The fund will launch with $17mn in capital. Limited Partners in the 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.
Mr. Park will be responsible for managing the Fund. Prior to joining ATU, Mr. Park was a consultant at McKinsey & Company and Head of the Global Business at OGN, the world’s first esports broadcasting channel. His hands-on experience in the esports space will be invaluable in securing global esports expertise and networking.
“The esports industry has been growing rapidly at 30% YoY over the last couple of years. Followed by the investment boom in K-Pop and K-Beauty, we forecast that esports will become the next big investment trend capturing Korea’s strength in the industry,” said Mr. Park.
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. As more than 80% of esports content is consumed through digital channels, the industry is gaining attention from advertisers who seek to target the Millennial/Gen-Z consumer groups.
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, the fund 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.
Mr. Allen Deveoise, globally 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 Fund.
About ATU Partners
Established in May 2019, ATU Partners is a private equity fund operator specializing in lifestyle investments such as media, esports, and K-Beauty. With its initial $17mn fund launch in eSports, the firm aims to launch a $17mn fund specializing in cultural content projects by 1Q20.