After bagging a $4.9 million seed round in May, live-streaming mobile video game platform Mobcrush has raised an $11 million Series A.
Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round, with earlier investors Raine Ventures, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Rincon Venture Partners, Crosscut Ventures and Advancit Capital joining.
Mobcrush’s platform streams video of people playing mobile games. The speed at which investors poured money into the Santa Monica startup is an example of how fast the industry catering to video game spectators is evolving.
Video games as spectator sport broke into the public consciousness when Amazon purchased Twitch, a live-streaming PC and game console website, for $970 million in August 2014. Google has since sent YouTube in hot pursuit, last month launching a competitive gaming platform called YouTube Gaming.
While Twitch and YouTube Gaming are bruising each other to gain control of the PC and game console broadcast market, Mobcrush is narrowly focusing on viewership of mobile gameplay. The company is convinced that widespread use of mobile devices will lead to mass adoption of mobile game broadcasting.
“We see ourselves as complimentary to the other large platforms,” said Chief Executive Royce Disini. “We think our space is actually more bullish because of the ratio of mobile devices to PCs.”
To juice the growth of its audience, Mobcrush has experimented with live streaming several small mobile game tournaments and signing broadcast deals with 35 gaming personalities, many from YouTube.
“These mobile gaming influencers are people in the community that are looked up to,” said Disini “They are key to bringing in an audience.”
Mobcrush’s audience stands at just 20,000 concurrent viewers as its iOS app and Web-streaming platform are still being beta tested. The company will be looking to use the $11 million infusion in part to fund user growth as part of its October public launch.
“The name of the game here is: first to scale,” Disini said.
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