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New research published by Here East and Beauhurst shows rapid growth of British esports startups and scaleups over last two years

The research shows that the UK is growing a significant esports startup community and benefiting from the investment interest in a sector that generated £60m in revenue in the UK and represents a market worth $180bn globally.

There is a huge opportunity for esports to become a defining sector for the UK over the next decade, driving job creation, innovation and investment in the country’s economic recovery. The research has identified 43 fast-growth British esports startups and scaleups, with 67% based in London.

The most successful British esports scaleup is Fnatic, which has raised £51m across seven funding rounds with the backing of investors such as Beringea and Crowdcube. FACEIT is the second most successful British esports scaleup in terms of investment, having attracted £22m, followed by Guild eSports, which raised £20m in 2020.

British esports startups and scaleups raised £42m in 2020. This fundraising activity meant 2020 was a record year for British esports startups in terms of both the value and number of deals. This momentum has continued into 2021, with eight deals worth £15m already being secured.

The levels of esports funding in 2020 broke the record set in the previous year, when British esports startups raised £27m across 18 funding rounds.

Demonstrating the emergence of a new generation of esports entrepreneurs in the UK, 45 per cent of the funding rounds over the last two years were secured by startups that had never previously raised investment.

Earlier this year, Here East released a major new initiative alongside the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and Arena Consulting to create a world-class esports cluster on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The data shows that fast growth esports businesses in the UK took eight years to secure the same amount to investment they have secured in the last 24 months. It’s clear the sector is experiencing exponential growth and demonstrating remarkable resilience during the challenges posed by the global health pandemic. The number of esports startups securing investment for the first time is also highly encouraging, suggesting investors see real long-term growth potential in esports and are willing to back early stage businesses in the sector.

Henry Whorwood, Head of Research at Beauhurst

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