Growing UK organisation exceL Esports have secured investment from Guinevere Capital as they look to take their operations “to the next level”.
As part of the deal, the investment group has become exceL’s majority shareholders, as announced in this post on the exceL website.
Guinevere Capital has plenty of esports experience under its belt, mainly in the Oceanic region. It has majority stakes in the likes of LG Dire Wolves, the Sydney Drop Bears and the Esports High Performance Centre at Sydney Cricket Ground.
The investment group’s MD Dave Harris (pictured left) – who has joined exceL’s board – is also a founding board member of the Esports Games Association Australia.
“We believe that our new partners are the right fit to propel the brand to new heights and take our esports operation to the next level.”
He was also general manager at the National Rugby League in Australia and has worked as a producer for the Next Gamer TV show in Australia.
Dave Harris commented: “We’re really excited to be expanding into the UK market, looking to help build the esports scene in this region and replicate our success in Oceania.”
exceL added in a statement: “This acquisition of the exceL Esports brand has been widely anticipated by all members of the organisation. We believe that our new partners are the right fit to propel the brand to new heights and take our esports operation to the next level.”
exceL MD Kieran Holmes-Darby (pictured right) said he’s thrilled to have Guinevere Capital on board as partners and described them as having ‘a clear focus on how to scale businesses in the space and operate them sustainably’.
‘exceL are leading the pack in the UK right now’
Comment by Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco
exceL have gone from strength to strength these past few years to say the least.
They have come a hell of a long way since the early days of the ESL League of Legends Premiership back in 2015, and continue to surprise me (and I think the rest of the UK esports community) with their developments.
Looking back on some of these advancements in recent years, they’ve opened their OMEN gaming house, launched an exceL fashion brand, seen great success with different esports teams including League of Legends (both male and female teams), offered salaries and established themselves in the Gfinity Elite Series. And now they’ve secured great backing in Guinevere Capital.
While each of these developments are impressive, I think it’s the manner they’ve gone about them – and how early they’ve completed each one – which is worth highlighting.
They seem to be one step ahead of the other esports organisations right now in the UK (some of whom have followed suit months afterwards). They’re leading the pack right now.
“I don’t want to hear other UK esports orgs moaning about how hard it is to secure funding anymore. Excel have shown us it’s possible – now we need to make sure they have solid competition so everyone ups their game.”
This time last year Joel Holmes-Darby stepped down as MD to become Franchise Lead for the Gfinity Elite Series, while his brother Kieran became full-time MD of Excel. Since then, they’ve been working hard to further establish their brand and make waves in UK esports.
Of course, being owned by someone that also operates possible rivals like Dire Wolves does create some potential conflict. What would happen if exceL and Dire Wolves were to theoretically play in the same global league in the future?
But my main point is that, today, as they announce a new majority shareholder, exceL Esports have shown the rest of the UK scene it is possible for grassroots organisations to secure investment.
I don’t want to hear other UK esports orgs moaning about how hard it is to secure funding anymore. Excel have shown us it’s possible – now we need to make sure they have solid competition so everyone ups their game and helps the UK scene reach the next level collectively.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.