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A startup called chiliZ has raised a funding $27 million through private placement. Promoted by poker industry maven Alexandre Dreyfus, it is reportedly a blockchain-based platform that allows fans to crowd-manage sports, mainly esports, teams and organisations.
Alexandre Dreyfus, a quiet man who had carved a niche for himself in poker, is the owner of the largest live poker database Hendon Mob, the Global Poker Index, and more recently the Global Poker League, which changed the game of poker into what it is today, that is, an international gamefied competition. The new startup is the result of his keen interest in two of the fastest growing verticals: Esports and cryptocurrency.
It is being referred to as a blockchain-based platform allowing fans to crowd-manage sports – primarily esports – teams and organisations. Dreyfus took his inspiration for the project from the soccer clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, which are collectively controlled by over 90,000 “socios” and 170,000 “socios,” respectively. These socios are essentially members who democratically elect the clubs’ presidents.
“After speaking to various esports teams, we realized they shared our experience and our frustrations – there were no tools, and there was no way to monetize that fan base,” says Dreyfus. “The solution to the problem was inspired by traditional sports, more specifically the way in which teams like Real Madrid/FC Barcelona, and also the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, were democratically managed by ‘socios’ or fans. We decided to explore and scale this idea to a completely different level thanks to the latest technologies.”
What chiliZ and Dreyfus anticipate is that the esports landscape, in particular, will not only be shaped by the games, teams and leagues that draw the most players and spectators, but by those best able to activate and monetise audiences by giving fans power. Dreyfus believes that fan engagement is the secret sauce to success of esports growth and chiliZ will serve as the engine to tokenise the process of giving fans power, which is where the crypto element comes in.
“Our vision – to build a tokenised voice platform that focuses on a fan-driven experience – is a first for the industry,” says Dreyfus. “While it is disruptive, it does not compete with the existing ecosystem. In essence, it complements the ecosystem, and will ultimately help to shape and grow the industry as a whole.”
Crypto investors in Asia largely put up the $27 million invested in chiliZ to date, according to Dreyfus. His biggest challenge with the raise was based on the prices of many crypto assets falling far from their peaks in the past few months.
“Raising crypto funds in a bear market is actually pretty difficult, but it’s also very exciting, mainly because we believe that we have a very strong business model and utility in the esports space,” adds Dreyfus. “Moreover, many of our crypto investors have invested on a strategic level, and are helping to further build our initiative.”
Source: European Gaming Media and Events