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I always try to stay up to date with the hottest verticals—especially the ones most people wouldn’t think to study.

Esports exploded into headlines over the past few years with some serious numbers to back it up…

And yes—in 2018, the biggest esports event in the world had more unique viewers than the Super Bowl.

Yes again—a 16-year-old won $3M in a single competition last year, more than Novak Djokovic got from winning Wimbledon.

But esports isn’t just about crazy headlines, it has serious opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs.

That’s why in my latest edition of Angel Insider, I revealed three of the highest potential niches within esports.

And I even broke down a seed-stage esports startup to show you the momentum and innovation within the industry.

The Rise of Esports

Esports has taken off over the past few years.

In case you don’t know, esports are video game competitions that feature professional players, huge audiences, and mind-boggling prize pools.

The scene traces its origins way back to 1972 with a Space Invaders tournament that attracted 10,000 participants.

Fast forward to today, and esports is a billion-dollar industry with events that have more viewers than the Super Bowl (more on that later).

Here’s your need-to-know breakdown of the esports industry—its growth, numbers, and opportunities.

Revenues Rising Year-Over-Year

Between 2015 to 2018, esports revenues grew 30% year-over-year.

This growth eased up over the next year to about 23.3% in 2019. But, that same year, revenues reached an all-time high of $957.5 million (not including revenues from betting).

As expected, the global pandemic has slowed growth and hurt revenues, but only by a fall of 0.8% year-over-year.

Funding At an All-Time High

October 2020 saw over $200 million in funding go to esports companies (according to Crunchbase).

To show you what is possible on the high end of gaming and esports companies—Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, raised $1.5 billion in a single round in August.

Fortnite is one of the largest esports games in the world and much of its popularity comes from the excitement around its live competitive events.

And for pure esports companies, PlayVS raised $50 million in a Series C round at the end of 2019 and another $10.5 million in October 2020.

PlayVS is a platform and operator of high school and college esports leagues. The startup is backed by SoftBank, Adidas, and New Enterprise Associates.

Prize Money Increases

In 2018, esports tournaments awarded just over $164 million to players. With 23,020 active players that year, the mean earnings per player were $7,160.

The next year, the total prize earning jumped up to $234 million—an increase of 42%. The player’s mean earnings also rose, up 20% to $8,594.

Esports Gambling Doubled This Year

Betting on esports events has become quite popular, seeing a huge spike during the quarantine.

This year, esports betting revenues are on track to break records by doubling year-over-year to $14 billion in revenue.

So, Just How Big Is Esports?

We can sit and talk stats all day, but some real-world examples help to drive home the scale and speed of this industry.

Here are some incredible esports facts:

The World Championships for top esports title League of Legends brought in 100 million unique viewers in 2018. Compare this to the Super Bowl that same year, which had just over 98 million unique viewers.

The five-man esports team, OG, won the Dota 2 “The International” tournament in 2019 to earn a prize of $15,603,133. Compare that to the prize money for winning Wimbledon Singles—$2,983,748.

Still not impressed?

In 2019, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf won $3 million in a single event, the Fortnite World Cup. He gets to keep that money all to himself. Not bad for a 16-year-old!

The last thing I’d like to leave you with is this—by 2022, esports events will generate more revenue than both the UEFA Champions League and Formula One, according to research done by Green Man Gaming.

Where the Next Opportunities Lie

Entrepreneurs and investors need to be sharp to catch opportunities in this fast-moving space. The top opportunities of tomorrow didn’t exist yesterday.

Some areas that are likely to see increased activity include:

1. Gaming Travel

Esports fans are willing to travel to watch live events. A burgeoning niche within the industry includes special accommodation and tourism packages for esports viewers.

For example, a new hotel in Amsterdam just opened called The Arcade. It is touted as the world’s first video game hotel.

The hotel features in-room gaming systems, an arcade, gamer-themed design and marketing, and hosts many gaming events including esports competitions.

2. Virtual Esports Events

While plenty of entrepreneurs have turned to physical space for esports events, virtual ones can be just as interesting.

Platforms, teams, and organizers that host virtual events can earn big advertising bucks if they get enough eyes on them.

3. News and Streaming

While Twitch, Youtube, Facebook, and Microsoft have been battling it out for market share in the streaming space, there is still loads of room for startups.

For example, a startup called FaceIT just landed a multi-year streaming deal with Youtube. This is the Google-owned video platform’s largest investment in esports to date.

Example of Early-Stage Potential in Esports

I want to give you something to look at that shows just how much potential many investors see in this space.

This startup is an interesting example that shows the growth in the esports industry and what kind of ideas are floating around right now.

The company is called Juked.

Juked is an early-stage startup that wants to be your one-stop-shop for all things esports.

As it stands, esports can be difficult to follow, especially for newer fans.

With so many different games to watch, loads of events held by different companies, and hundreds of top teams and players, fans need to scour dozens of community sites and subreddits to stay up to date.

There just isn’t a solid platform that streamlines the process.

Juked aims to change that.

All from one platform, esports fans can find up-to-date info on upcoming events, watch live streams of tournaments, and get breaking news on their favorite teams and players.

Juked has recently grown an average of 74% each month and now has more than 50,000 active monthly users.

In its current crowdfunding raise on Republic, Juked is already well over its original goal and has amassed over 2,000 investors (as of 12/10/2020).

 

Author:Chris Graebe

 

  • The biggest trends in consumer goods are “natural” and “eco-friendly.”
  • There’s a product that you use every day of your life that fits with these trends and is overdue for innovation.
  • There’s one startup that has a solution that caught the attention of Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow, and loads of other big-name investors and celebs.
  • Find out what the network effect is and why it’s so important for startups, in my opinion.

When you don’t know where to look, you miss out on opportunities.

If I asked what product is next up for disruption, how many of you would answer “single-use paper products”?

In reality, that’s a great answer, and it’s one that’s backed by a $3 million seed round and about a dozen well-known investors.

The startup I’d like to show you is called Cloud Paper.

Instead of chopping down trees to make toilet paper, Cloud Paper uses fast-growing and sustainable bamboo.

The TP is ultra-soft and saves acres of trees from deforestation.

We’ve been watching the consumer goods market closely…

As simple as Cloud Paper sounds, it’s making headlines and growing rapidly.

And in my latest issue of Angel Insights, I break down this startup, explore the consumer goods market, and talk about finding opportunities in the most unlikely places.

Where do you look for innovation?

Maybe you follow FinTech, electric vehicles, or cybersecurity—all great choices.

But I bet very few of you said consumer products. And I bet almost no one said toilet paper.

Toilet paper is something you use every day of your life, sure. But is there room for disruption there?

The global toilet paper market is expected to hit almost $49 billion by 2026. And while almost all other consumer goods segments have seen some kind of eco-innovation, toilet paper is still the same old product.

Today I want to talk about a startup that’s changing all that and disrupting toilet paper.

The company is Cloud Paper and it has attracted loads of celebrity investors and earned millions in seed funding.

The Problem

Traditional toilet paper is made of wood pulp and contributes to deforestation.

Paper towels and toilet paper alone account for 20% of global deforestation. This is equivalent to 40,000 trees cut down each day. That’s an acre every second.

The current system for creating single-use paper products is unsustainable.

Luckily, Could Paper is going to change the system.

The Product

Cloud Paper makes super-soft bamboo-based toilet paper.

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. It grows up to three feet per day.

Once planted, it’s ready for harvest in just three years. Best of all, it doesn’t need to be replanted once cut, as it just keeps growing from the stump.

All of Cloud Paper’s bamboo is grown in family-operated farms in Asia. The company works with sustainability-focused manufacturing partners to keep production clean.

The TP rolls are made without chlorine and are free of BPA and all added scents, dyes, and pesticides. And Cloud Paper uses only recycled and 100% plastic-free packaging made locally.

Making a Difference

So far, by attracting customers to switch from tree-based to bamboo-based paper as well as through its carbon offsetting programs, Cloud Paper has prevented one million pounds of carbon from going into the environment.

And because the paper and packaging are plastic-free, Cloud Paper has saved around one ton of plastic packaging.

This product doesn’t just tackle deforestation, bamboo toilet paper produces at least 30% less greenhouse gas emissions than tree-based toilet paper.

From the ground up, Cloud Paper is built for sustainability—and investors love that.

Cloud Paper Attracting Big-Name Celebs and Investors

Angels, firms, and celebrities have all come on board with this idea.

Celeb investors include Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow, NFL star Russell Wilson, and Robert Downey Jr. through his organization the FootPrint Coalition.

Mark Cuban, Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and VC firms Greycroft and Muse Capital have also joined in.

This is a young but fast-moving company. It was just founded last year but already has a big $3 million seed round under its belt.

Trends Pushing the Product Forward

TP had a strange year.

Fears of shortages became self-fulfilling as people rushed to stockpile the stuff and it actually became hard to come by.

This frenzied buying helped Cloud Paper greatly. Orders spiked up around 800%, according to co-founder Ryan Fritsch.

With its subscription model, many of the panic-buyers stuck around once things cooled down. This created a nice early surge for the company.

Now that things have stabilized a bit, we can see some very interesting things coming out of the consumer goods markets that show a bright future for Cloud Paper.

As more and more purchases occur online and deliveries and subscription models take over, direct-to-consumer brands that offer something unique have so much room to grow.

In this space, sustainable products, in particular, are growing fast.

And Cloud Paper is benefitting from all of this.

Potential Everywhere

The timing is just right for big brands like Procter & Gamble or Kimberly-Clark to acquire a startup like Cloud Paper.

If you take a market leader like P&G and look at their big moves over the last few years, you see acquisition after acquisition of health- and environmentally-oriented brands.

Natural shaving products, organic hygiene products, natural skincare—all of these have been scooped up by P&G and other big players like it.

As surprising as it may seem, I think natural and eco-friendly tags will start to spread into nearly every type of consumer good, toilet paper included.

You wouldn’t expect green toilet paper to be the next big thing, but Cloud Paper is making it look like it will be.

Take The Next Step

My angel investing group, The Boardroom, recently invested in a CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) startup with a line of natural, effective, alcohol-based deodorant.

They’ve tripled sales for 3 straight years and are projecting to bring in $3M+ in sales in 2021.

Their 86% profit margin gives them tons of room to scale and they’re about to fire up a massive viral marketing push.

I’ve included this startup, along with 2 more of The Boardroom’s hottest startups in my Holiday Blitz 3-for-1 offer.

 

Author:Chris Graebe

  • The biggest trends in consumer goods are “natural” and “eco-friendly.”
  • There’s a product that you use every day of your life that fits with these trends and is overdue for innovation.
  • There’s one startup that has a solution that caught the attention of Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow, and loads of other big-name investors and celebs.
  • Find out what the network effect is and why it’s so important for startups, in my opinion.

 

When you don’t know where to look, you miss out on opportunities.

If I asked what product is next up for disruption, how many of you would answer “single-use paper products”?

In reality, that’s a great answer, and it’s one that’s backed by a $3 million seed round and about a dozen well-known investors.

The startup I’d like to show you is called Cloud Paper.

Instead of chopping down trees to make toilet paper, Cloud Paper uses fast-growing and sustainable bamboo.

The TP is ultra-soft and saves acres of trees from deforestation.

We’ve been watching the consumer goods market closely…

As simple as Cloud Paper sounds, it’s making headlines and growing rapidly.

And in my latest issue of Angel Insights, I break down this startup, explore the consumer goods market, and talk about finding opportunities in the most unlikely places.

Where do you look for innovation?

Maybe you follow FinTech, electric vehicles, or cybersecurity—all great choices.

But I bet very few of you said consumer products. And I bet almost no one said toilet paper.

Toilet paper is something you use every day of your life, sure. But is there room for disruption there?

The global toilet paper market is expected to hit almost $49 billion by 2026. And while almost all other consumer goods segments have seen some kind of eco-innovation, toilet paper is still the same old product.

Today I want to talk about a startup that’s changing all that and disrupting toilet paper.

The company is Cloud Paper and it has attracted loads of celebrity investors and earned millions in seed funding.

The Problem

Traditional toilet paper is made of wood pulp and contributes to deforestation.

Paper towels and toilet paper alone account for 20% of global deforestation. This is equivalent to 40,000 trees cut down each day. That’s an acre every second.

The current system for creating single-use paper products is unsustainable.

Luckily, Could Paper is going to change the system.

The Product

Cloud Paper makes super-soft bamboo-based toilet paper.

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. It grows up to three feet per day.

Once planted, it’s ready for harvest in just three years. Best of all, it doesn’t need to be replanted once cut, as it just keeps growing from the stump.

All of Cloud Paper’s bamboo is grown in family-operated farms in Asia. The company works with sustainability-focused manufacturing partners to keep production clean.

The TP rolls are made without chlorine and are free of BPA and all added scents, dyes, and pesticides. And Cloud Paper uses only recycled and 100% plastic-free packaging made locally.

Making a Difference

So far, by attracting customers to switch from tree-based to bamboo-based paper as well as through its carbon offsetting programs, Cloud Paper has prevented one million pounds of carbon from going into the environment.

And because the paper and packaging are plastic-free, Cloud Paper has saved around one ton of plastic packaging.

This product doesn’t just tackle deforestation, bamboo toilet paper produces at least 30% less greenhouse gas emissions than tree-based toilet paper.

From the ground up, Cloud Paper is built for sustainability—and investors love that.

Cloud Paper Attracting Big-Name Celebs and Investors

Angels, firms, and celebrities have all come on board with this idea.

Celeb investors include Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow, NFL star Russell Wilson, and Robert Downey Jr. through his organization the FootPrint Coalition.

Mark Cuban, Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and VC firms Greycroft and Muse Capital have also joined in.

This is a young but fast-moving company. It was just founded last year but already has a big $3 million seed round under its belt.

Trends Pushing the Product Forward

TP had a strange year.

Fears of shortages became self-fulfilling as people rushed to stockpile the stuff and it actually became hard to come by.

This frenzied buying helped Cloud Paper greatly. Orders spiked up around 800%, according to co-founder Ryan Fritsch.

With its subscription model, many of the panic-buyers stuck around once things cooled down. This created a nice early surge for the company.

Now that things have stabilized a bit, we can see some very interesting things coming out of the consumer goods markets that show a bright future for Cloud Paper.

As more and more purchases occur online and deliveries and subscription models take over, direct-to-consumer brands that offer something unique have so much room to grow.

In this space, sustainable products, in particular, are growing fast.

And Cloud Paper is benefitting from all of this.

Potential Everywhere

The timing is just right for big brands like Procter & Gamble or Kimberly-Clark to acquire a startup like Cloud Paper.

If you take a market leader like P&G and look at their big moves over the last few years, you see acquisition after acquisition of health- and environmentally-oriented brands.

Natural shaving products, organic hygiene products, natural skincare—all of these have been scooped up by P&G and other big players like it.

As surprising as it may seem, I think natural and eco-friendly tags will start to spread into nearly every type of consumer good, toilet paper included.

You wouldn’t expect green toilet paper to be the next big thing, but Cloud Paper is making it look like it will be.

Take The Next Step

My angel investing group, The Boardroom, recently invested in a CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) startup with a line of natural, effective, alcohol-based deodorant.

They’ve tripled sales for 3 straight years and are projecting to bring in $3M+ in sales in 2021.

Their 86% profit margin gives them tons of room to scale and they’re about to fire up a massive viral marketing push.

I’ve included this startup, along with 2 more of The Boardroom’s hottest startups in my Holiday Blitz 3-for-1 offer.

 

Author:Chris Graebe