SINGAPORE e-sports organisation Team Flash is looking at expansion after securing US$1.5 million in funding in its first seed round – with additional plans for brand sponsorships and a dedicated merchandising arm.
Leading the funding round is Octava, a family office based in Singapore investing across diverse industries – mainly biosciences, real estate investment, property development, financial technology, venture capital funds, education, resources, and lifestyle concepts.
Octava had recently included e-sports as one of its investment verticals and has made other undisclosed investments in the e-sports space. Team Flash however, is its first e-sports team investment in South-east Asia. Prior to this seed round, Team Flash's other private investors include regional sports marketing agency, Reddentes Sports.
On top of international expansion, funds raised will be used to secure Team Flash’s leadership in the Vietnam market – hot on the heels of its Vietnam team winning the championship at the Arena of Valor (AOV) World Cup.
A newly upgraded office has been opened in Hanoi, which houses the organisation’s full -time players and staff. In addition, Team Flash has acquired the top League of Legends (LOL) team in Vietnam, moving them to a new facility as well in Ho Chi Minh city.
"Most of our resources are currently dedicated to making sure our two prized teams do well on the world stage," said Team Flash’s chief executive and co-founder Terence Ting in an interview with The Business Times.
Although no significant moves for the rest of the year is expected, Mr Ting said this should change heading into 2020. South-east Asia will be the focus in the next 12 months, with Indonesia and Thailand identified as the two most promising markets after Vietnam, he added.
The funding will also help the organisation focus on bringing in brand sponsorships and media partners. So far, sponsorship deals it has signed include sportswear brand Under Armour, electronics maker Logitech, sports goods distributor Fitlion; and most recently, Facebook Gaming for a one-year exclusive streaming contract for its Vietnam e-sports team.
The company previously announced a one-year exclusive streaming rights deal with Nimo TV in 2018, and also struck a talent development partnership with the Singapore Sports Hub in March 2019.
"We have also been in talks with a few major international brands and announcements will be made in October on our new partnerships for Team Flash," Mr Ting said.
Some plans in the works also include a merchandising arm slated for launch later in the year, which the organisation is expecting to be its third largest revenue generator after sponsorship or streaming partnerships and prize money income.
At the moment, the merchandising arm consists mainly of Team Flash’s e-sports range. The next phase of merchandise development will be centered on creating a new lifestyle range which fans can wear on a daily casual basis.
Some examples include popular concepts in Vietnam and South-east Asia like street fashion, and creating new branded pieces out of that.
Founded in October 2017 by Mr Ting and Samson Oh, Team Flash currently employs more than 30 professional e-sports athletes and content creators in various game titles, including AOV, LOL, FIFA and PUBG Mobile across Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.
Octava investment director Tan Ting Yong said South-east Asia has the "fastest-growing" e-sports demographic in the world and is at the cross-section of powerful trends like social connections and digital consumption of video.
"Looking ahead, we believe teams will benefit from the structural growth of e-sports into a fully-fledged professional sport. Team Flash is well-positioned in the region to do this, given their record of excellence and community outreach programmes," Mr Tan added.