M80, an emerging organization in the esports industry, has successfully secured $3 million in seed funding to fuel its expansion in esports, content creation, and consumer products. Leading the investment round were Expert Dojo, VT Technology Ventures, and Practical Venture Capital.
Established in December 2022, M80 has rapidly gained recognition as one of the fastest-growing esports teams in North America. Its Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League, Street Fighter, and Valorant players have achieved remarkable competitive success. Within a span of just six months, M80 has amassed an impressive following of over 12 million dedicated fans.
Apart from bolstering its presence in the esports arena, M80 intends to utilize the raised funds to establish a dedicated innovation division called M80 Labs. This specialized unit will focus on the development and launch of consumer goods, creation of digital items with practical applications in the real world, and exploration of advancements in web3, blockchain, and other emerging technologies. M80 aspires to become the pioneering gaming and esports organization empowered by web3 capabilities, setting a new standard in the industry.
CEO and co-founder Marco Mereu envisions M80’s unique competitive advantage lies in fostering a deeper connection with its fans. In an exciting move, Mereu has confirmed that fans will have the opportunity to hold a stakeholder interest in M80, drawing inspiration from the publicly-owned NFL team, the Green Bay Packers. Although specific details of this fan relationship have not been disclosed, M80’s strong interest in web3 technology indicates its potential involvement.
Mereu emphasizes the value of fan ownership, stating, “When fans have a vested interest in your brand, they become your most dedicated supporters, customers, and partners.” M80’s commitment to building a strong community and leveraging web3 advancements demonstrates its dedication to revolutionizing the gaming and esports landscape.
M80’s fiscal future
Mereu is an accomplished entrepreneur with a strong focus on the world of esports. One of his notable ventures was co-founding the esports brand XSET in 2020. However, in November 2022, he decided to leave XSET in order to pursue a more esports-centric vision with his new endeavor, M80. Notably, XSET recently expanded into the web3 space by signing Brycent as a content creator.
Despite the challenges currently faced by the esports industry, Mereu remains optimistic about its future. He acknowledges that raising capital during this period can be difficult, but he believes that entrepreneurs must adapt to market conditions and seize opportunities as they arise. While there may be negativity surrounding esports, Mereu sees positive signs, noting the increasing viewership and financial investment pouring into the industry.
Mereu firmly believes that the so-called “esports winter” will ultimately benefit the industry in the long term. He highlights the need for adjustments in business practices, such as addressing player salaries and implementing revenue sharing, to ensure the industry’s sustainability.
Furthermore, M80’s status as an early-stage startup works in its favor. Many prominent esports brands relied on venture funding to secure franchise spots, which led to market distortions. M80 now has the opportunity to structure itself accordingly and demonstrate that there are ample opportunities in the esports landscape today.
Mereu emphasizes the vast potential that still exists in the industry. He points to M80’s impressive performance over the past six months, which has resonated with both him and the investors. In a market where success is determined by merit, M80 is proving that it is possible to run a thriving esports business at this time.