Popdog Wants To Be The Top Dog In The Esports Industry
There is a new name in the esports industry that you will soon be hearing a lot from. The company is called Popdog. It was created by esports world-record holder Alex Garfield and launches with a $9 million Series A funding round led by Makers Fund.
Popdog is launching with capital and clout. As part of its founding, it has acquired three companies in the world of esports — Loaded, NoScope and Catalyst Sports & Media’s esports division.
Loaded is a gaming influencer management platform that represents the likes of Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Shroud and LIRIK. It connects major esports personalities with global brands and media companies in exchange for a fee. NoScope is a discovery and analytics tool for Twitch that allows users the ability to discover broadcasters, create campaigns and track fulfillment. Finally, Catalyst’s esports division has consulted with many third parties, such as the Golden State Warriors, Dr. Pepper, Chipotle and McLaren, that wish to enter the esports industry, but need guidance to understand the opportunities and how to effectively activate within.
Popdog is branding itself as a technology and services company that seeks to optimize esports and live streaming for brands, publishers, talent, teams, tournaments and other stakeholders. Between the talent management capacity of Loaded and the brand management of Catalyst, Popdog enters the space with a big advantage. Further, the data and analytics provided by NoScope adds legitimacy and value to the offering. Together, these companies will be much more powerful, under the Popdog umbrella, than they have been as separate entities.
Additionally, Garfield has garnered his own fair share of clout. He previously built Evil Geniuses and Alliance into powerful organizations before selling them to Twitch in 2014. A Popdog release indicates that Garfield is the winningest individual team owner in esports history by prize money. He obviously understands the industry.
Garfield is joined by three co-founders who have also garnered a lot of success in esports. Andreas Thorstensson co-founded SK Gaming and SoGamed, and is a world champion in Counter-Strike. Niles Heron has a tech background, teaching and mentoring at accelerators such as TechStars. Finally, Colin DeShong worked with Garfield for many years and helped build the companies that Garfield ultimately sold to Twitch/
The $9 million round led by Makers Fund also includes participation by Korea Investment Partners. The capital will be used to hire people to serve roles in technology, services and product development.
“We’re building our company around the core belief that esports and gaming video content, born more from technology than any other sports or entertainment verticals we’ve seen, need better technology in order to be properly understood, monetized, and optimized,” said Garfield. “The industry needs a backend, and our mission is to be that backend by supporting the ecosystem as a whole with a comprehensive offering of technology and services.”