Here's something to spice up your Wednesday: the same Telstra who services phone lines down your street and owns the occasional phone box has just made an investment. In an esports team — but not an Australian one.
A new report on Forbes has revealed that the parent company of TSM, a United States esports organisation most famously known for their League of Legends team, has raised $49.97 million ($US37 million).
The Series A funding — basically the first time when a company offers equity to external parties — leaves TSM founder Andy Dinh as the majority owner of the organisation. But the curious note is the list of investors, which reportedly includes:
- JM Eagle CEO Walter Wang
- Colin Carrier, former Twitch chief strategy officer
- Yifang Ventures (whose CEO is Baidu co-founder Eric Xu)
- Golden State Warriors small forward Andre Iguodala
- NFL hall of famer Steve Young
- Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry
- AME Cloud Ventures, a venture capital fund founded by Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang
TSM said that $US10 million would be directed towards takeovers and acquisitions in the esports and gaming industries. The raising will also enable TSM to cover franchising costs — think the entry fee for tournaments like the Overwatch League, NALCS, and so on — as well as the construction of a 15,000 to 20,000 square foot esports centre based in Los Angeles.
Given that a few non-endemic organisations have already invested in Australian esports teams, it's fascinating that the country's oldest and largest ISP has opted to spend their money overseas. A few representatives from Telstra are due to appear at The Esports Conference in Sydney tomorrow. I'll be reporting from the event, and it's expected that Telstra will go into more detail about how and why this came about.
For more info about the TSM raising, head to Forbes.