What to know about the Series A raise by Minneapolis-based Wisdom Gaming Group:
- The $3 million round was led by Minneapolis-based Excelsior Ventures Fund
- The investment will be put toward growing the company’s portfolio of Esports marketing, digital content, and gaming media network portfolio (which already includes HeroesHearth, Alpine Esports, and Giant Slayer.
The Quote: Mike Zweigbaum, CEO of Wisdom Gaming Group
“We will be deliberate in the gaming titles and content we focus on, continuing to stay true to our vision to build authentic communities and fandom among our unique properties. And we will help educate and chart the course for relevant brands and businesses for how to best connect with gamers.”
Read the full details in the news release below. Release has been edited for length.
MINNEAPOLIS (Sept. 16, 2020) – As esports consumption continues to grow rapidly worldwide, Wisdom Gaming Group, a digital media company specializing in esports content and experiences, today announced that it has secured $3 million in Series A funding. Led by Minneapolis-based Excelsior Ventures Fund, the investment allows Wisdom Gaming Group to continue aggressively growing its esports marketing platform, digital content and gaming media network portfolio, which includes HeroesHearth, Alpine Esports and Giant Slayer.
“As more people and brands learn about esports and its potential as a revenue generator, we are energized by the opportunities this financing round will create for our clients and our team, as our digital content offerings leverage the most effective, engaging forms of media and non-traditional marketing to connect with Gen Z and millennial audiences,” said Mike Zweigbaum, CEO of Wisdom Gaming Group. “We will be deliberate in the gaming titles and content we focus on, continuing to stay true to our vision to build authentic communities and fandom among our unique properties. And we will help educate and chart the course for relevant brands and businesses for how to best connect with gamers.”
Led by a team of digital marketing experts with more than two decades of experience, the Series A financing secured by Wisdom Gaming Group builds on 12 months of steady growth for the company. In 2019 it acquired HeroesHearth, a social network for fans of Heroes of the Storm, a crossover multiplayer online battle arena video game. In 2020, the company acquired Alpine Esports, a Minneapolis-based professional esports organization specializing in competitive gaming for Rocket League, a family-friendly game best described as soccer with cars. Also, in 2020, Wisdom Gaming Group acquired Gold Rush, a premier community content and tournament brand.
“We believe the esports sector is positioned to benefit from the convergence of content and commerce by leveraging the tremendous global participation of the key millennial and Gen Z demographic groups,” said Michael Hoffman, Co-Founder of Excelsior Ventures Fund, who also serves on Wisdom Gaming Group’s board of directors. “As our second esports investment, we were attracted to the content focus of the Wisdom Gaming Group business model and the experienced and successful team.”
Esports is a rapidly growing industry for competitive, organized video gaming. Gaming is a $139 billion-a-year industry, making it bigger than the NFL, MLB and NHL combined, according to Adweek.
“With over 500 million estimated enthusiasts and over $1 billion in annual revenue, it’s incredible to think that esports is growing faster than some professional sports leagues, music and movies, and expected to grow even further as a category and new channel for brands to connect directly with sought after, hard-to-reach audiences,” said TJ McLeod, Wisdom Gaming Group partner and President. “Our Series A funding will help us accelerate our vision of building the best esports platform for Gamers and esports enthusiasts.”
Once permitted under COVID guidelines, Wisdom plans to resume conversations with professional sports leagues and other local and nationals brands to plan future live events for gaming enthusiasts. The company previously held Minnesota’s largest esports viewing party, and has partnered with brands including Jack Link’s, the Minnesota Twins and Duke Cannon Supply Co. Additionally, Wisdom has been instrumental in the continuing development of Minnesota State High School League esports programs.
Currently, Wisdom Gaming Group and its top Alpine esports North American team is competing in a tournament led by Psyonix’ Rocket League®, a family-friendly game and high-powered hybrid of arcade-style soccer and vehicular mayhem, with easy-to-understand controls and fluid, physics-driven competition. The season is in full swing, with over $4.5M in prize money at stake.
About Excelsior Ventures
Twin Cities-based Excelsior Ventures was founded in 2018 by Jeff Klinefelter, a highly ranked research analyst, and Michael Hoffman, an industry leading investment banker, who were partners at Piper Jaffray Companies for 20 years. Known for being forward thinkers in the area of important, disruptive trends impacting global spending, they’ve advised and represented hundreds of the fastest growing consumer companies, and built the leading middle market equity research and investment banking advisory practices. Excelsior Ventures principally invests in Seed and Series A investments, and is committed to investing in brands and businesses that create a deep emotional connection with their consumers and are positioned to benefit from modern economy dynamics.
About Wisdom Gaming Group
Founded in 2019 by Michael Zweigbaum and T.J. McLeod and headquartered in Minneapolis, Wisdom Gaming Group is a creative content, consulting and digital marketing agency focused on bridging the gap between gamers and brands. The company’s esports division specializes in virtual and live event production, media, and activation strategy. Navigating the relationship between marketing, esports and gaming requires experienced insiders who speak the language and know how to make things happen. Through powerful campaigns, content, experiences and partnerships, we help brands achieve goals and create new visions.