Sherman Oaks’ Azubu, a live-streaming video game platform, has raised $60 million in bonds.
The live-streaming video game market is dominated by Amazon’s Twitch, but Azubu believes it can nudge its way in by focusing on e-sports and on international markets.
Azubu’s website exclusively streams live video game tournaments, and brings in revenue through advertisements and a cut of paid subscriptions. The Sherman Oaks company has 75 full time employees and was founded in 2011.
“A significant proportion, for the past couple of months, of our viewers has been from Brazil and South Korea,” said Chief Executive Ian Sharpe. “We are aiming to redress that balance with significant content partnerships that are more Western focused.”
Azubu attracts 9 million unique viewers a month and 93 percent of those view tournaments live. The company said viewership over the past 12 months has grown 1,200 percent. Much of that growth has been driven by signing exclusive streaming rights to South Korean and Brazilian competitive video game circuits. The website’s audience is segmented by region and game title, said Sharpe.
“There are some games that are universal, like ‘League of Legends’ and ‘Dota,’” he said, but others have a more specific appeal. “‘Counter-Strike’ doesn’t really work in South Korea.”
Azubu will use its cash infusion to hire additional engineering staff, to improve its platform as well as to push expansion into new markets, said Sharpe. The company has raised $94 million in total. This latest funding round was raised from London’s Sapinda Group with participation from Sallfort Privatbank of Switzerland.
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