Is the esports industry dying? If you ask fresh-faced organizations like M80, which launched just six months ago, the answer will be a resounding “no.”

M80 today announced that it has raised $3 million in seed funding in a round led by ExpertDojo, with VT Technology Ventures and Practical Venture Capital also participating. The funds will be used to explore Web3 offerings and increase M80’s presence across esports competition, content creation, and consumer products, according to a statement.

M80 currently has professional esports teams across competitive games like Valorant, Rocket League, Rainbow Six: Siege, and Street Fighter. It was cofounded by CEO Marco Mereu and Nate Schanker, who previously worked together at esports organization XSET, where Mereu was a co-founder and Schanker led social media strategy.


When asked about the current esports landscape—which has seen a recent slew of layoffs, low stock prices, striking players, and teams for sale—Mereu said he believes the industry will weather the storm.

The esports industry—much like the rest of the world—is navigating economic uncertainty that is forcing teams, publishers, and brands to reevaluate their strategies,” Mereu told Decrypt via email. “I believe the changes the industry makes now will build sustainability long-term.”

In March, Mereu told Startland News that M80’s small team keeps it financially stable compared to other, larger orgs with higher overhead costs and is more focused on its fans than metrics like follower counts and “hyper-growth.” 

M80’s leadership and investors are optimistic about the future of gaming and the potential for various Web3 integrations to create a thriving esports industry. In a statement, the org said that it’s exploring DAOs, which are decentralized communities focused on a set of common interests, and which use crypto tokens to vote collectively.

M80 also has plans to launch packaged goods, “digital items with real-world utility,” and “innovations in Web3, blockchain, and other emerging technologies,” the startup said in a statement.


“Gaming and esports are still growing,” Mereu told Decrypt. “This is still a massive global audience of over 3 billion people. Between a rebound in gaming venture capital investment and record-setting events like the final CS:GO Major in Paris, there’s plenty to be bullish on.”

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