Amir MIrzaee: new partnerships and investments will accelerate our US growth
2022 will be the year for further expansion and the launch of new and exciting esports products, according to Bayes Esports’ Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer Amir Mirzaee.
Following the announcement that Bayes Esports had completed its latest funding round of €6m, which was compounded by new investment from Las Vegas Sands (LVS), Mirzaee told SBC that this new cash injection would help accelerate the company’s expansion into the US market.
He began: “The Sands group is an absolute behemoth across a variety of industries including betting, entertainment, hospitality, etc. The sheer scale of them is absolutely mind boggling and at the same time we’re lucky enough to have two very accessible and caring partners in Davis Catlin and David Williams.
“It’s just been a few weeks now, but for the US market in particular, we’ve already been able to get a few key introductions that will accelerate our progress and boost our presence in the market tremendously. We’re looking to establish a solid and independent role in the US esports data market in the near future.”
As a European company, securing a strong partner such as LVS was greatly important for Bayes Esports as it enables the esports data company to navigate the incredibly complex regulatory landscape.
“The US is a very complex market to navigate from the regulations perspective with state by state differences and most markets still being in their very early stages,” Mirzaee continued.
“Having a partner that has been playing a key role in the US and global gambling over decades comes with an amazing network of partners to help us establish regulatory statuses and to even support policy making around esports in the future. It is our ticket to the negotiation table with key stakeholders.”
LVS wasn’t the only company to invest in Bayes Esports however, with the Berlin tech start-up also receiving backing from BITKRAFT Ventures.
With expert knowledge within the esports and gaming space, this new partnership will open the door to crypto topics and the creation of new products. Mirzaee said: “Being able to work with BITKRAFT is just a blessing.
“These guys are obviously second to none in esports ventures, super hands on, deep into all topics and connected to virtually anyone across esports and gaming. We’re very excited to dive into crypto topics with them and lead the way on making blockchain powered products useful to the esports industry.”
So what will this latest round of funding be used for? For MIrzaee, the answer lies in expansion and being able to capitalise on new opportunities within the nascent US market.
“Our main focus is to grow strategically. For us, this means building up more strategic partnerships, expanding to the US and being a licensed betting supplier in both the US and Europe,” he continued.
“To be able to pull this off, we are looking towards about 25 new hires, as well as investing more in our product development, so that we not only have the manpower, but also enough tailor-made solutions to be able to tackle these challenges. In the mid term, we will, for example, be able to cover virtually the full stack of betting related data and services out of one hand.”
While expansion and industry knowledge will be hugely beneficial, Bayes Esports also shared that the latest investment will extend the reach of its existing content partners. Take Beyond The Summit for example.
Founded in 2012 as a DOTA 2 casting studio, BTS is an esports production company whose broadcasts are distributed in over 110 countries on both linear TV and digital outlets. The new funding and US expansion, according to Mirzaee, will allow Bayes to collaborate more with BTS on a number of content generation tools.
He continued: “Our primary concern is always with our content providers. As we grow in scale, so does the reach of our content partners. That means, as we grow in size as well as in product line up and geographical presence, we will be able to reach more and more data consumers and eventually fans with data from BTS.
“The goal has to be to enable amazing digital use cases in every last corner of the world. Esports is a global phenomenon and it is our job to make sure everyone gets to interact with it.
“What we have been sitting on for a while now is an innovative technology that automatically synchronizes videos and data. Paired with some meta-information, this does allow us to create a database full of interesting clips and highlights that can be utilized to offer the esports audience a unique and engaging form of content. What we needed was for a tournament organizer to help us find different use cases and try these out. This is how “Project V” was created.
“Together for and with Beyond The Summit we will develop and provide content generation tools based on Bayesian technologies, e. g. an automatic Twitter post at a pentakill with a short clip, clips of older highlights in preparation for a special match (rivals, players) etc.
“We are very excited to be working on this project alongside BTS and we hope our collaborative efforts will lead to some amazing results not just for us, but for esports fans as well.”
As has often been dubbed the ‘land of opportunity’, the US market has become the place to be for betting and gaming companies looking to expand their reach.
Mirzaee predicted that when it comes to esports and online gambling, the post-PASPA market is going to become some of the biggest in the world – making 2022 the perfect time for Bayes Esports to plant its flag in the US.
“As US markets are opening up for esports and online betting, we want to be there to share our experiences from the much more advanced global markets, as well as supporting our existing clients in their US expansion. The US markets are in the process of finding their structure, but it is still early in the game. No doubt, in a few years time, these markets will be some of the biggest in the world and we’re laying the groundwork now.
“Then again, wishes and demands from clients in the US and Europe do differ significantly. For example, fantasy sports are much more established in the US than in Europe, showing that every possible partner we could have can have their own set of demands we would need to look to satisfy if we were to do business with them.
“What we want to do is be patient, learn about the market and listen to the demands so that when we feel confident about entering the market, we can do so with full force with innovative products and solutions ready and waiting.”
Among plans for its new investment, Bayes Esports has already outlined its plans to double its strategic partnerships and investments in 2022.
When quizzed on whether this is due to the rapid expansion of the esports space, Mirzaee predicted that it won’t be long before the vertical enters the mainstream – underlining that Bayes must be read for this moment ahead of time.
“If anything, we anticipate esports to grow even faster than we do! Seriously though, esports is not even close to reaching its full potential yet. As it stands, esports is mostly for a small subset of gaming enthusiasts that love to see their game played competitively at the highest possible level. Considering that gamers, and gamers of esports titles in particular, are also only a selective group of people, it is quite incredible how large esports has grown within this bubble.
“However, with how rapidly it is growing, it is only a matter of time before that bubble bursts and esports become more established in the mainstream and garners much more interest from people outside of the gaming community.
“We need to be prepared for that moment and doubling our strategic partnerships and investments is a great way of doing so.”
As discussions turned towards new partners, Mirzaee disclosed that the development of a collaborative and community-driven relationship will be of the utmost importance when creating new business relationships. The reason for this is due to the nature of esports itself.
He said: “Because esports itself is community driven. Esports titles change frequently thanks to constant updates and patches and what gets changed is very often influenced by what the general playerbase deems too strong, too weak or unfun to play or play against.
“Fans have much more influence on the development of an esports title than they have in more traditional sports. It is important for all other businesses involved in esports to recognise and lean into this rather than approaching the industry close-minded.
“By developing a collaborative and community-driven approach, we allow ourselves to be more flexible, to be more influenced by the community and, thus, allow ourselves to find better, more accurate and satisfying solutions that improve the development of esports as a whole.”