While Cloud9 has remained a massive player when it comes to branding in esports, the organization had notably fallen behind when it came to investment from notable sources. Despite the organization's deals with Twitch, many surmised that teams with notable sports and venture capital investment would be a step ahead—at least financially. However, Cloud9's latest dealings have moved them to the forefront of the esports world yet again.
According to a report by Forbes, the organization received investment from:
- Daniel Fiden, FunPlus Ventures
- Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants outfielder
- Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder
- Joe Montana, retired Hall of Fame quarterback
- Andrew Bogut, former NBA center
- Chamath Palihapitiya, Golden State Warriors co-owner
- Antonio Gracias and Kimbal Musk, Tesla board directors
- Bill Lee, Tesla investor
- Rick Thompson, Signia Venture Partners co-founder
- Ken Howery and Brian Singerman, Founders Fund co-founder and partner
- Min Kim and Rob Pardo, Bonfire Studios co-founders
- Josh Yguado, Jam City co-founder
- Tod Boehly, LA Dodgers co-owner and Eldridge Industries founder
- United Talent Agency
As you can see, there are quite a few names on the list, many of which are recognizable to esports and non-esports fans alike. The move comes just in time, as Cloud9 are a very notable brand in esports itself and are likely to push for a spot in the upcoming Overwatch League. While the reported $2-15 million are a hefty price to pay, these investors are certainly able to fund that kind of venture—if they deem it as a worthy investment, of course.
The numerous reports on the investment note that Cloud9 received "millions," but did not clarify any farther. The Etienne family (Jack and Paullie) notably retain the controlling share of Cloud9, and the investors will likely trust the pair's judgement, especially given their history of success in numerous games.
With most of Cloud9 returning to America, the team has not announced its next appearance. They will not play in the Overwatch PIT Championship, but there will certainly be opportunities to compete down the road with the Carbon Series wrapping up.
I, for one, look forward to potentially labelling this team as the "San Francisco Cloud Niners" in Joe Montana's honor.