ATU to Launch Asia’s First Dedicated Esports Private Equity Fund
ATU Partners plans what will be the first private equity fund entirely focused on esports investment in Asia titled the “ATU Esports Growth Fund.”
The new fund will begin with $17 million in capital and is backed by Kakao Games, The E&M, Woori Technology Investment, and SB Partners. Its CEO, Jamie Park, was previously a consultant with McKinsey & Company and is the ex-Head of Global Business for esports broadcasting channel OGN.
Jamie Park, as per a recent press release, says:
“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.”
The fund has also recently acquired successful South Korean League of Legends team DRX, previously Kingzone Dragon X, and has invested in Los Angeles esports agency AZYT. Both are initial portfolio companies. The ATU Esports Growth Fund chief advisor will be Third Wave Digital’s managing director Allen Deveoise who will enable access to North American markets.
ATU Partners was established in May 2019 as a private equity fund operator and plans a second fund in 2020 dedicated to cultural content projects.
In the US this November, Artist Capital Management raised a $100 million fund to invest in esports titled the “Artist Esports Edge Fund.” This fund sees franchised esports leagues as an “inflation point” for the industry as teams, esports tournaments, and their sponsorships drive industry revenue.
South Korea is currently the world’s second-largest market for esports after the US. Though it may fall to third largest as China’s esports market develops further this year.
Much consumer esports and gaming activity in Asia takes place via mobile devices. Asia is predominantly a mobile-first technology culture and smartphone availability and use is increasing. Mobile gaming is in a massive growth phase across Asia, also set to be fuelled by 5G network development.