Professional esports organization Major League Gaming (MLG) co-founders Mike Sepso and Sundance DiGiovanni announced they have launched esports infrastructure platform Vindex. With an initial funding of $60 million through their Series A round, the company has also acquired production company Next Generation Esports (NGE) and launched turnkey esports operation company Esports Engine.
Mike Sepso and Sundance DiGiovanni are esports veterans who co-founded MLG before it was acquired by Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) in 2015. Investment firm VineLight Holdings co-founders Jason Garmise and Bryan Binder also join Vindex as co-founders.
Vindex with $60 million Series A
“Esports has been a vibrant growth story for nearly two decades, and I have been honored to be a part of it, but we’re just getting started. More than ever, esports is driving growth and engagement for the entire games industry,” said Mike Sepso, CEO of Vindex, in a release. “We’re here to make those experiences easier to deliver, more scalable, and deeply engaging and rewarding for fans.”
Sepso will lead the company as CEO and leverage more than 100 employees, proprietary broadcast technology, and competition management software to equip partners with the industry-leading services and technology needed to scale to an increasingly mainstream global audience.
The $60 million Series A funding round is backed by investors in the hedge fund and private equity world. The company is also supported by board members like former ESPN CEO and current Activision Blizzard Media Networks Chairman Steve Bornstein, along with hedge fund Gotham Asset Management Founder Joel Greenblatt.
“I haven’t been so excited for a new opportunity since my time as CEO of ESPN. I see the same level of enthusiasm and talent in Vindex,” commented Steve Bornstein. “The team has delivered the biggest wins in esports to date and has a clear vision for driving the next wave of the industry’s growth. I’m excited to help unlock the global potential of the esports market.”
Newly launched Esports Engine is co-founded by former Vice President of League and Event Operations at Activision Blizzard Adam Apicella. The company has already signed a deal with Call of Duty League franchise New York Subliners for the team’s home series events in the inaugural season. The website states that Esports Engine is made up of the “same team that took MLG from inception in 2002 to acquisition in 2016”, and has created nearly 400 live event programs.