Why Fnatic’s recent crowdfunding push wasn’t about money

In November 2020, UK-based esports brand Fnatic kicked off a crowdfunding campaign, hoping to raise £1 million.

The pitch to fans was, by and large, pretty simple: Fnatic wanted its audience to be part of the company’s story. The pro-gaming organisation has been going for some 16 years and during that time has achieved consistent acclaim, fielding teams for hit games like League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile and Apex Legends.

By pretty much any metric, the crowdfunding push was a success. The company secured £1.7 million in funding from around 3,500 investors via the Crowdcube platform. That’s slightly lower than the £2 million from over 4,000 backers that Fnatic touted when the firm first finished its campaign – due to some people not being able to actually invest for whatever reason – but was still far above the esports giant’s target. 

The timing of the campaign was rather curious, however. When it was announced, the company had just raised $10 million in an internal funding round led by VC firm Beringea; in turn, this followed a Series A that saw Fnatic raise $19 million back in 2019. 

When the crowdfunding push was first announced, Fnatic founder and CEO Sam Mathews said that it was something the firm had wanted to do for some time. But turning to its fans for money straight after a massive private investment round seems, well, odd. 

We didn’t do this for the money,” Fnatic CFO Patrick Foster explains. The primary goal was to bring the fans in. We’re looking to do a Series B at a significantly higher valuation. We realised that this was probably the last time we could do a crowdfund and have meaningful interest for the people joining. If we wanted to bring our audience in, that really was the right time to make it happen.

“The primary goal was to bring the fans in. We’re looking to do a Series B at a significantly higher valuation. We realised that this was probably the last time we could do a crowdfund and have meaningful interest for the people joining. If we wanted to bring our audience in, that really was the right time to make it happen.”

You can check out the full article over on Barclays Eagle Labs blog.

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