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Esports Startup Cloud9 Raises $25 Million From WWE, Others

Cloud9 has closed $25 million in Series A funding from WWE and others, as the eSports team and player management startup looks to expand team development and broaden across multiple leagues.

Investors in the round include WWE; the Beverly Hills Sports Council; Raul Fernandez, co-owner of the Washington Capitals and Wizards; San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence; CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz; Founders Fund; and tech investors David Sacks and Bill Lee. As part of the funding, Founders Fund partner Brian Singerman joins the Cloud9 board and WWE and Hunter Pence will become board observers.

Cloud9 had raised $3 million in seed funding earlier this year. The L.A.-based company was founded in 2013 by Jack and Paullie Etienne, who are married.

Cloud9 manages teams and players for multiple eSports titles including “League of Legends,” “Overwatch,” “PlayerUnknown’s Battleground,” “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” “Hearthstone,” “Super Smash Bros.,” “Rocket League” and “Vainglory.”

This summer, Cloud9 purchased the London franchise for Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League, which is set to commence its inaugural season by the end of the year.

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“We will now invest in expanding across leagues, outfitting our training facilities and housing, and taking the entire organization to the next level,” Cloud9 owner Jack Etienne said in a statement.

George Barrios, WWE’s CFO and chief strategy officer, commented, “At WWE, we are constantly looking to innovate through our venture portfolio, and eSports is particularly exciting to us. We believe Jack and the team at Cloud9, with their vision, enthusiasm and ability to execute, are the right partners.”

Pictured above: Cloud9’s Jack Etienne (left)

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