Investing in Proguides - Democratizing eSports
At M13, the heart of our investment thesis is investing in founding teams who will help shape consumer behavior over the next decade. The rapid evolution and success of eSports over the years has proved that it’s an industry-shaping how, and why, gamers game. With more than 2.5 billion gamers in the world, and a global games market worth nearly $149B, eSports definitely caught our eye as an industry to watch. Today, we are proud to announce our investment in ProGuides, an innovative platform for gamers to improve their skills, build community, and gain exclusive access to and guidance from the pros.
We believe that one can find an analog in the real world for almost anything that happens in the digital world, and eSports is a great example. Competitive (real world) sports have existed since the beginning of time, so when the internet-enabled real-time multiplayer video games, it was only natural that eSports was born. When Twitch first emerged and allowed the public to “watch” gamers play, it defined a new moment in the industry, and now the world of competitive video gaming is a fast-growing international phenomenon with millions of fans and billions of dollars up for grabs.
ProGuides is helping further bridge the real world with the digital by creating a community for novices and pros online, giving gamers the resources and access to learnings from the best of the best. “Gamers don’t just want to get better – they want better access to the pros,” said Sam Wang, founder, and CEO of ProGuides. ProGuides’ platform democratizes the world of professional gaming, giving its customers the access on-demand, and the ability to form a real-life connection with someone they admire through games. And gaming is no longer a niche hobby, with over 100 million League of Legends players, and people all over the world aspiring to be part of the elite group of professional gamers. In the future, technologies like 5G and AR/VR will continue to have a massive impact on the industry.
One of the reasons gaming is so disruptive to media (and exciting to us as investors) is because at its core there is no separation between the viewer and the producer. In a game, the gamer’s actions change the experience; the gamer is the star of the show. Many aspire for the fame and fortune of being a top-ranked eSports player. But many more consumers simply enjoy the entertainment and human connection that games offer.
Regardless of fame and fortune, we believe the desire to improve is a natural human behavior. In the real world, someone wanting to get better at tennis would work with a tennis instructor. In the digital world, if someone wants to improve their gaming skills, the place they go to today is ProGuides. ProGuides aims to be the leading education brand for aspiring gamers by offering high-quality content and a marketplace of coaches. Customers of ProGuides can consume content across 8 games that help them level up. In addition, ProGuides connects users to top-ranked esports players who can serve as a 1:1 coach through their web app.
ProGuides is just getting started but already has an incredibly engaged customer base that represents the creme de la creme of gamers. We see platforms like ProGuides as a win for everyone – gamers get to learn and hone their skills, expert players get to monetize their skills, and game publishers encourage a whole new segment of consumers who are motivated to succeed in the game. We’re excited by the potential of creating an educational layer in the gaming world.
At M13, we seek to partner with passionate entrepreneurs that embody compassion for the user and clear product vision. We are thrilled to partner with founders Sam, Kristoph, and Wesley at ProGuides in their seed financing alongside our friends at Amplify. Congratulations ProGuides on this important milestone!