Fnatic secures $17m in funding to support its expansion into Japan and Asia-Pacific

fnatic new logo 2020

Esports brand Fnatic, whose head office is in the UK, has announced a $17m funding round led by Marubeni Corporation, one of the largest conglomerates in Japan.

This investment will include a strategic partnership to support Fnatic’s expansion into the growing Japanese esports sector and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) market. This will see Fnatic establish a base of operations in Japan and support its Rainbow 6 Siege team who plan to relocate to the country. The org plans to have a training house in Japan.

Fnatic says the Japanese esports industry is a ‘significant and growing market, expected to increase in value by more than 250% between 2019 and 2023’. More than 6.9m people attended esports events in Japan in 2020, a year-on-year increase of 42%.

Fnatic is also currently hiring for a country lead position in Japan, and it has a partnership with Ask Corporation to distribute Fnatic Gear products across the country.

The funding round includes a range of international family offices and institutional investors, alongside venture debt from Bootstrap.

The news comes after Fnatic’s crowdfunding push in 2020, which was joined by more than 3,500 investors and raised more than £2m. Just prior to that, Fnatic raised $10m in a separate funding round. It also comes as Fnatic signs top-laner Adam ‘Adam’ Maanane to its League of Legends team.

“We’re so excited to have the strategic know-how of Marubeni leading this funding round. Marubeni’s knowledge of Japan’s business landscape will be a huge asset to Fnatic as we expand our commitment to Asia-Pacific.”

Sam Mathews, Fnatic

Fnatic says Marubeni’s investment builds upon 12 months of growth for the org, including an 80% year-on-year increase in revenues year-to-date, with Fnatic’s esports equipment line also showing growth of 52% in 2020. Revenues from both its digital and physical performance products have risen by 91% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021. 

Fnatic recently strengthened its leadership team, with the addition of Georgina Workman (head of studios, previously Appear Here), Julien Dupont (partnership development, previously Vitality/Havas), Oliver Royce (head of apparel, previously Gymshark) and Patrick Foster (CFO, previously Getaround).

It has also continued to develop its high-performance esports brand through expanding its digital and physical performance products – revenues from these ranges have increased by 91 per cent year on year in the first quarter of 2021. 

Fnatic CEO Sam Mathews said: “We’re so excited to have the strategic know-how of Marubeni leading this funding round. Marubeni’s knowledge of Japan’s business landscape will be a huge asset to Fnatic as we expand our commitment to APAC (Asia-Pacific).”

Fnatic was founded in 2004 and has of course grown to become one of the world’s biggest esports organisations. It has a worldwide squad of 40 pro gamers across eight game titles, and more than 100 staff in six offices globally, with its head office based in London.

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