FACEIT begins the next stage of its journey
January 25th, 2022
Today we celebrate our portfolio company FACEIT, teaming up with ESL to create the world’s leading competitive gaming platform. The two companies have been acquired and merged by Savvy Gaming Group (SGG). Read the press release for all the details.
Since we first backed Niccolò Maisto, Michele Attisani and Alessandro Avallone in 2015, FACEIT has become the leading digital destination for competitive gamers, and now is joining forces with the world’s leading independent esports company to shape the future of competitive gaming.
This M&A operation marks the end of a chapter, as we say farewell to our formal involvement with FACEIT. Niccolò, Michele, Alessandro – thank you for letting us be part of your unique journey. We wish you and your team every success as you write the next stage of FACEIT history!
Building the leading digital platform to play and connect
We met Niccolò Maisto, Michele Attisani and Alessandro Avallone in the early years of United Ventures, approximately a decade ago. To tell the truth, at our first meeting, we did not fully understand the potential of the product they were building, and we passed the opportunity to join FACEIT’s angel round. Still, we remained impressed by the founders’ bold vision, paired with a tenacious and business-oriented mentality, and we kept following the company’s first steps closely.
Being gamers themselves, Niccolò and Michele saw room for improvement of the online gaming experience building tournaments and charts on specific, local communities. They wanted to build the premier platform for gamers to compete on their favorite games.
The competition on shorter charts and the game experience matching players of similar levels were the main drivers behind the company’s growth. In a short amount of time, Niccolò and Michele built a diverse team with experience in startups, software development, and video games. They showed excellent capabilities of involving influencers and well-known business angels around FACEIT, building interesting relationships in the business development, and accelerating the SDK development to improve the stability of the core software. Since the tech department started to deliver effective results, the company showed an interesting growth rate week over week.
That’s when we decided to invest and became the first institutional investor to back the company. Looking back at our initial investment memo from January 2015, we see how FACEIT represented a compelling investment case for many reasons: a high growth trend (x20 YoY) and an untapped market opportunity, a rounded management team with proven execution skills; key industry members as angels and co-investors, the capability to interact with established companies and raise the attention of the most prominent players of the industry; a clear path to exit since day one.
From that beginning, during our follow-on investments in each round, and along the company’s path to profitability, Niccolò, Michele and Alessandro’s clear vision has not changed. What has changed is that they turned it into reality: FACEIT has become a global company and the leading digital destination for competitive gamers. Today, more than 30 million matches are being played on its platform every month within its community of more than 22 million players and tournament organizers.
Meanwhile, eSports have gone from a small vertical within the video games industry to a central aspect of online gaming culture. They have become a mainstream entertainment option among all age groups, used by many players to connect with friends remotely and socialize online. Even more during the pandemic, with stay-at-home advisories and lockdown directives in many countries.
That’s what FACEIT has enabled: creating the best gaming experiences by fostering the development of communities around games. We believe that together, FACEIT and ESL will form a new driving force in the fast-growing eSports landscape at a critical time in the evolution of the industry, aimed at creating a more integrated, accessible and sustainable ecosystems for fans, players and teams of gamers around the world.