M80 Raises $3 Million to Expand 'Web3-Enabled' Esports Organization


The recently-launched org from XSET veterans said it will explore offering digital items and other crypto integrations, like creating a DAO.

Has the esports industry lost its popularity? If you ask recently established groups such as M80, founded only half a year ago, their response will be a firm "absolutely not."

M80 E-Sports revealed today that it has secured $3 million in initial funding through a round led by ExpertDojo, with VT Technology Ventures and Practical Venture Capital joining in as well. The capital will be allocated towards delving into Web3 possibilities and expanding M80's involvement in esports tournaments, content generation, and consumer goods, as stated in an official announcement.

At present, M80 boasts professional esports squads in popular competitive titles such as Valorant, Rocket League, Rainbow Six: Siege, and Street Fighter. The company was established by CEO Marco Mereu and Nate Schanker, who had previously collaborated at the esports organization XSET. Mereu served as a co-founder at XSET, while Schanker excelled in devising social media strategies.

When asked about the current esports landscape, which has seen a recent number of layoffs, low stock prices, striking players, and teams for sale,Mereu said he believes the industry will weather the storm.

“The esports industry, much like the rest of the world, is navigating economic uncertainty that is forcing teams, publishers, and brands to reevaluate their strategies,” Mereu told Decrypt via email. “I believe the changes the industry makes now will build sustainability long-term.”

In March, Mereu told Startland News that M80’s small team keeps it financially stable compared to other, larger orgs with higher overhead costs and is more focused on its fans than metrics like follower counts and “hyper-growth.” 

M80’s leadership and investors are optimistic about the future of gaming and the potential for various Web3 integrations to create a thriving esports industry. In a statement, the org said that it’s exploring DAOs, which are decentralised communities focused on a set of common interests, and which use crypto tokens to vote collectively.

M80 also plans to launch packaged goods, “digital items with real-world utility,” and “innovations in Web3, blockchain, and other emerging technologies,” the startup said in a statement.

“Gaming and esports are still growing,” Mereu told Decrypt. “This is still a massive global audience of over 3 billion people. Between a rebound in gaming venture capital investment and record-setting events like the final CS:GO Major in Paris, there’s plenty to be bullish on.”


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