Pokimane, the popular Twitch gaming livestreamer, has announced a new entrepreneurial gig: She’s co-founder and chief creative officer of RTS, a talent management and brand consulting firm that spun out of Endeavor’s esports business.
Imane Anys, known as Pokimane among her more than 30 million online followers, told Variety that RTS was formed to solve hot-button business issues encountered gaming creators — namely, striking brand deals that fairly value them and represent them authentically.
In the gaming and esports realm, she said, “there are too many examples of people being mistreated, agreeing to contracts with unfair compensation and cringey deals.” Pokimane, who has been “through the wringer” in similar experiences, said she provides a creator-oriented perspective as part of the RTS team.
Sometimes creators simply don’t know what they are worth or don’t know how to best engage in the right kinds of brand deals, according to Pokimane. “Unfortunately, because of how fast-paced livestreaming and internet culture is, people tend to make decisions for the short term versus the long term,” she said.
Pokimane is repped by UTA. But, she said, talent agencies and agents are often incentivized to maximize deal flow. RTS, by contrast, does not take a percentage cut of transactional deals. She didn’t go into detail about how the firm’s agreements with creators are set up, but she said the deals have “a mutually beneficial structure that makes us tied to each other long-term.”
“The whole reason I wanted to help create RTS was that I wanted infrastructure in place with managers who care about [gaming creators’] long-term careers,” Pokimane said. “I wanted to create an environment where we care about every aspect of the creator’s brand and wellbeing.”
RTS’s founding team includes CEO Stuart Saw — who was previously Endeavor’s SVP of esports and former head of strategy for Twitch — along with COO Kim Phan (formerly with Blizzard and Endeavor), VP of talent management Sue Lee (formerly with Twitch, where she was Pokimane’s account manager) and VP sales and partnerships Jason Scorrano (former PAX and Turner Sports exec). L.A.-based RTS currently has 10 employees.
RTS (a nod to the “real-time strategy” game genre) is funded by its founders, along with outside investors Endeavor and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin. The company’s advisory board which includes Lin, Brian Corrigan, head of Americas for PUBG, and Karen Brodkin, EVP of content strategy and partnerships at Endeavor.
Pokimane’s livestreams have featured such games as “Fortnite,” “Valorant,” “League of Legends” and “Among Us.” She is Twitch’s top female creator with 8.3 million followers. She is also a founding member of OfflineTV, an online social entertainment group of content creators, and creator of the UCI esports scholarship.
Asked about Twitch’s massive data breach earlier this month, Pokimane said that it “feels like ages ago. The silver lining to that was seeing creators and fans memeing everything.”
Pokimane and Stuart Saw began discussing the problems that game streamers face in the industry about a year ago, and that eventually led to her joining forces with RTS. Saw, in a statement, said Pokimane “has such a keen eye on the business, which will be a huge asset to creators and brands who truly want to make a long-term difference.”
RTS’s client roster, in addition to Pokimane, includes Epic Games’ “Fortnite World Cup” and Facebook. The company (rts.gg) also owns and manages with Sony the Evolution Championship Series (aka Evo), one of the oldest events in esports with roots dating back to 1996.