The Singapore-based big data startup for e-sports recently raised seed round funding from the likes of Ruru Pan, VP Game, and an Alibaba co-founder
This August will be a very busy month for e-sports big data analysis platform RiseWinter Tech. Not only is the startup set to launch its web and mobile app, it will also open up a new branch office in Shanghai to complement its Singapore office.
“All China deals will be through our China company, while all global deals will be through our Singapore headquarter,” CEO and Founder Bungee Yin says.
The big agenda comes just in time after the two-month old startup secured its seed round investment from three investors: E-sports veteran Ruru Pan, leading gaming item trading platform VP Game, and a member of the Alibaba founding team who wishes to remain anonymous.
According to Yin, the amount of the investment ranges between S$600,000 to S$1.2 million (US$445,000 to US$890,000).
“My understanding of e-sports is that I think they are going to grow like traditional sports … Basketball-related media don’t do the data by itself, it subscribes to other data company. So we want to be that kind of data company. We want to connect action points to all the companies in this industry. So we’re not doing the consumer side, we’re doing the business side,” Yin explains, with regards to RiseWinter Tech’s business model.
“Besides team, we plan to provide data to live-streaming platforms; in China there is Douyu and the other one is Panda TV. So we plan to provide data for them and media companies, and a database for their editors to generate posts about players, etcetera,” he explains further.
As a strategic investor, RiseWinter is also helping VP Game develop their back-end programme.
The growth of e-sports in the past years has been impressive, with countries such as China beginning to acknowledge its existence by approving its entry as the 99th sport in the State General Administration of Sports list on November 2003.
Just like in traditional sports, e-sports fans are not just playing the game, but they are also watching it. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, in 2014, there were 32 million people watching the League of Legends finals, which already outweighed the number of audience for sports events such as Baseball WorldSeries or NBA finals. Even media companies such as ESPN and BBC are also developing dedicated verticals for e-sports.
Despite the lucrative growth, for startups working in the field of e-sports, there are several challenges that they need to deal with.
“I’d say there would be two key barriers, the first being resources. That’s actually the reason why I left my job to build this startup, because my investor is already a big boy in the industry, and they can provide all the key resources such as media exposure. I saw many companies who succeed in securing seed rounds but failed to go through Series A, because they failed to create relationships [that can lead to resources],” Yin explains.
“The second key barrier is your understanding of the game. In e-sports, there are like four, five famous games. You should choose between deep-diving into one game, or whether you want to spread across different games … You really need to understand the games so that you can provide valuable data services,” he adds.
So how does one get ahead in this field?
“At current level what you can do is just give more features [such as] more summaries, more statistics. Another advantage is also our team because we can easily handle the tech stuff. And all of us understands the games. We’re crazy game-players,” Yin says.
“Some competitors in China would never go global. Because they don’t have the knowledge or much experiences living overseas. While for our competitors globally, for example US companies, it would be very hard for them to go into China. So we’re standing in the middle,” he adds.
RiseWinter Tech is run by a team of passionate gamers who have experienced working in tech giants such as Google and Facebook. As the founder, Yin came to Singapore from China to study at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), before continuing his Masters at the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT).
The startup has signed up with three e-sports teams, as well as a few other franchises that are set to compete in the prestigious International 6 event in Seattle, the US.
Though it plans to remain focussed on perfecting its products at the moment, Yin reiterated RiseWinter’s plan to enter the global market, starting from Southeast Asia where it has talked to a team in Malaysia and other countries.
“I don’t see a reason why we’re not doing global market. I have read a report … [Even though] the US, Europe, and China are the three biggest markets, Southeast Asia is the fastest growing market in the world,” he says.
Image Credit: RiseWinter Tech
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