Chinese esports player VSPN has announced the close of its $60 million Series B+ funding round, led by Bank of China-backed private equity fund Tianhong Yirun. The funding will aid VSPN’s international expansion efforts and help build up its already impressive portfolio of gaming titles.
VSPN is one of China’s most successful esports organizations, having a presence at various tournaments and leagues. Founded in 2016, the company organizes international competitions, produces esports events and operates multiple multi-player online gaming platforms.
VSPN’s new funding round includes investment from Tencent Cloud, Subor Capital, BLH Venture Capital Management and more. With this capital injection, VSPN has appointed Robert Xiaoying Jiang — former Tencent executive — as non-executive director of the company’s board. This marks a major milestone for VSPN as it looks to become the leading global media platform for gamers worldwide.
VSPN is one of the largest esports companies in China and is the operator of popular esports leagues and tournaments. With its recent $60M Series B+ round, VSPN wants to expand its global presence and become a leader in the global esports industry.
This article will discuss more about the company and its strategies.
VSPN (Versus Programming Network), founded in April 2016, is a leading esports player in China. Among many of its accomplishments, VSPN has created the Viper Championship League – an indoor tournament series featuring the top 100 pro and amateur players in China. In addition, VSPN works with partners including Riot Games, Tencent, Blizzard Entertainment, and Alibaba to host major esports events in key cities across China. In addition to hosting tournaments and providing content monetization services, VSPN also offers platforms for fans to watch popular games such as Lol and Overwatch and engage with other fans through social media.
VSPN was part of the first wave of esports companies operating in China offering online streaming services back in 2016. The early focus was on providing gamers with first-rate competition environments that allowed tournaments to take place indoors, giving gamers full access to the experience compared to outdoor competitions often plagued by weather issues or external noise. As a result, esports’ popularity surged domestically and internationally from that point onwards.
As of March 2021, VSPN has become a global player having closed a $60M Series B+ round from investors such as Tencent Holdings Limited and MakersFund which will be invested into developing international growth through expanded international offices in key cities around the world like New York City, Los Angeles, London and Dubai and bolstering existing properties’ IP protection abroad.
VSPN (Versus Programming Network) is a Beijing-based leading organization in the Chinese esports industry. Established in 2014, the firm has since developed into a fully integrated professional esports organization that produces, manages and promotes international tournaments and leagues.
The company’s business model comprises three main segments: production, management and promotion. On the production segment, VSPN develops its large-scale esports tournaments through its VPG (Versus Production Group) arm. It also partners with other organizations throughout Asia-Pacific such as Japan’s Cyber Bingo Games Inc. to produce high-end content for a worldwide audience. On the managerial side, VSPN manages some independent event organizers (IEO) aiding them to arrange events into bigger and more profitable ones providing IEOs professional advice on various aspects related to the operations and commercialization of an international esports tournament or league. Lastly, its VMP (Versus Marketing Platform) works like an influencer platform by connecting game publishers and organizers with top influencers from China and Southeast Asia to promote their content or product respectively.
This distinctive three-segmented model has made VSPN one of the most successful companies in internationalizing sports entertainment in East Asia — having been responsible for numerous large-scale tournaments such as KPL (King Pro League). As such it was no surprise when VSPN recently announced that it had raised $60 million in Series B+ financing which it intends on using towards boosting its global strategy related endeavors including further expanding into Europe, North America and Latin America markets this 2020–2021 season seeking new opportunities across different genres of competitive gaming outside Chinese borders.
Chinese esports player VSPN closes $60M Series B+ round to boost its international strategy
VSPN, the leading Chinese esports company, recently announced the closing of its $60M Series B+ round. This round of funding is led by Tencent, China’s largest gaming company, and it is joined by existing investors Boyu Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, China Growth Capital and SIG.
This new round of financing will be used to accelerate the company’s international development strategy.
In the recent Series B+ funding by VSPN, investors worldwide have shown great interest and support, including Ivy Capital, Sky9 Capital, Morningside Venture Capital, Raine Ventures, SIG China and Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI).
Lead investor Ivy Capital is a Chinese early-stage venture capital firm launched in 2016 jointly by former Sequoia China Partner Yang Yanqing and former Carlyle managing director Jin Huiming. Other existing investors such as Tencent Holdings Ltd., SIG Asia Investment’s Zendai Group, Bessemer Ventures International participated.
The amount raised will expand VSPN’s international market presence and consolidate its leading position in the global esports. It will also fund investments in technology development emphasizing interactive streaming platforms and devices enabling esports exploration beyond China.
Use of Funds
VSPN has invested in expanding its esports infrastructure and drawing and developing talent. With the completion of its most recent round, VSPN intends to drive an international expansion strategy through partnerships, esports league operations, content distribution platforms and events. The $60 million raised in this round is planned to be used for a variety of purposes:
1. Developing esports league operations: To further increase the VSPN’s international presence, they plan to launch additional leagues, expanding their reach outside China through strategic partnerships. These leagues will include both professional and amateur levels.
2. Growing content distribution platform: Their content distribution platform provides a favorable economics-driven environment that helps Chinese streamers build a larger global audience; with investment from this latest round VSPN seeks to grow the size and quality of this platform across games and streamers alike.
3. Establishing strategic investments: Investment beyond their core businesses will be expected to create an even larger network regarding events and organizations worldwide that can help boost the growth of their business domestically and internationally.
4. Investing in events: As part of their goal to become an international leader in esports lifestyle experience, VSPN will be utilizing funds from this recent financing towards investing in both domestic as well as foreign production teams that can help them deliver top-tier live entertainment experiences for their fans globally in different cities around the world.
VSPN’s International Strategy
VSPN, founded by former Tencent executive Jialan Wang, is emerging as a leader in Chinese esports. Recently, it successfully closed a $60M Series B+ round of investment, presenting an opportunity to enhance its international strategy.
This article will discuss the specifics of VSPN’s international strategy.
Expansion into New Markets
To achieve its international strategy goals, VSPN plans to expand into new markets worldwide. The primary markets for expansion are North America, Europe, Middle East/Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America/Caribbean regions. To ensure success in these new markets, VSPN is committed to providing greater access and further investment in local esports communities.
VSPN will leverage its top-tier partnerships with well established organizations such as Fnatic and CLG and its current portfolio of premier live experiences like Douyu Spark Arena and community engagement tools such as Touhu Weibo to confidently expand into existing successful initiatives within the esports scene. By forming alliances with existing leagues in each region, VSPN looks forward to expanding lesser known titles or franchises into a larger global market. This venture requires an equally dedicated commitment towards developing original content tailored to unique local cultural needs while increasing visibility to potential new viewers worldwide. Currently established titles such as King Pro League (KPL) in China will maintain their freedom from IP assets and use them to provide an unparalleled viewing experience for potential viewers worldwide.
Furthermore, VSPN’s international strategy plans for expanding coverage of key events on global broadcast outlets such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming not only allows for expanded audience interaction but also ensures better exposure of talent from underrepresented regional areas across the globe that were previously missing out on competitively viable opportunities within their respective regions of fandom. Empowering emerging talent with the right resources has been a cornerstone theme since its establishment; VSPN has already invested heavily into scout systems designed by its partners at Douyu TV allowing high-profile event series like Trident Invitationals, PUBG Star Challenge (PSC) World Championship Hong Kong tournament, CODM World Text Championship Shanghai Open 2019 amongst various others that brought together undiscovered stars together onto one unified platform through which they could showcase their skills setting them up for stardom while broadcasting an authentic representation of culture from around the world!
To achieve this goal, VSPN has made several strategic investments and partnerships within the esports scene. Its most notable partner is probably Chinese internet giant Tencent who purchased a minority stake in the company for an undisclosed amount. This agreement will enable VSPN to expand their influence outside of China and increase its external viewership figures.
The company also announced partnerships with international esports organizations including South Korean gaming giant AfreecaTV, American tournament organizer ESL and Japan’s Niconico streaming platform. These agreements will allow VSPN to co-host esports events with global partners and continue innovating the Chinese e-sports industry. In addition, regulatory support was also announced for other gaming companies interested in entering China’s esports market, providing an opportunity for further investments into VSPN products and services.
In addition to these new partnerships, VSPN has established a dedicated New Business Department, focused on promoting international cases of influencers and streaming media platforms to help boost its presence on the global market and develop international content distribution strategies.
VSPN’s Series B+ close marks a major milestone in its ambitious international growth strategy, as the company seeks to further expand its already sizable presence in the global esports market. Through this investment, VSPN CEO George Li has emphasized the company’s commitment to strengthening VSPN’s competitive edge and delivering quality entertainment experiences for esports fans worldwide.
With a portfolio of marquee tournaments, innovative user-oriented platforms and cutting-edge technology, VSPN is well positioned to extend its reach into new markets and gear up for continued success.