ESI Digital Winter presents: A brief history of The Clutch – Esports Insider

Retail tycoon and Dragons Den judge, Theo Paphitis once said: “There are three reasons to be in business. To make money, to have fun, – and to make money.”

ESI’s live pitch investment competition has undoubtedly been fun since its first iteration in September 2019, and of course its ultimate aim is to help esports startups make more money. We endeavour to deliver on this by providing an even larger stage for startups to showcase their businesses to both an industry audience and the panel of international investors and judges. 

At the end of this week, on Friday, November 6th to be precise, submissions for the fourth edition of, The Clutch, will close. The four finalists, each of whom will be granted a 15-minute slot at ESI Digital Winter, will be announced on the following Friday, November 12th.

All selected finalists will receive two complimentary tickets to ESI Digital Winter in its entirety too, where they will be able to interact with panels and network with industry professionals. Each will pitch to the panel of judges on 19th November, whilst also facing a question round before the winner is selected and announced that same day.

Since catching up with The Clutch’s alumni, Esports Insider looked back through the archives of the competition to bring hopefuls and other interested parties up to speed.

The Clutch, ESI London

September 2019, Esports Insider debuted The Clutch, supported by Esports Global, during the second edition of the ESI London conference, held at Twickenham Stadium. The in-person, on-stage event saw nine finalists pitch their start-ups to a panel of seasoned investment and esports-minded judges. Ultimately,  Gscience was crowned the first victor.

Key Partner:

  • Esports Global

The Judges:

  • Malte Barth, Founding Partner of BITKRAFT
  • Amit Jain, Esports Investor at Rewired.gg
  • Helen Gammons, Relationship Manager – Media & Entertainment Group at HSBC Private Bank
  • Spike Laurie, Venture Director at Hiro Capital
  • David Martin, Director of Esports Global Fund

The Finalists:

Please note that the descriptions are based on The Clutch 2019 pitches and may not necessarily represent what each company currently offers:

  • PlatformSocial gaming & esports venue
  • OmnicoachAI-based coaching system
  • EdgeContract, payment, data solution blockchain platform
  • Shikenso Analytics dashboard for sponsors & partnership
  • CaveaSponsorship & audience analytics platform
  • OddinLive esports betting markets
  • StreamCrux – Global hub for gaming streamers
  • CyberDreamVR gaming platform with social applications
  • Gscience (formerly G-Science) – Esports athlete performance monitoring

The Clutch Digital, ESI Digital Summit

In March 2020, Esports Insider planned to debut  The Clutch USA at ESI New York 2020, however, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ESI delayed the conference originally set in April to December.

Quickly pivoting, ESI took much of its agenda and speakers and went digital, hosting the organisation’s first digital event: ESI Digital Summit, featuring The Clutch Digital and supported by Esports Global. Four finalists were selected and pitched from their homes via the digital platform to a panel of remote judges, in the end it was TEAMS that took home the digital trophy.

Key Partner:

  • Esports Global

The Judges:

  • Malte Barth, Founding Partner of BITKRAFT
  • Fabio La Franca, Investment Director at Station 12
  • David Gowans, Head of Creative Technologies, Games and Esports at Barclays
  • Patrick Mahoney, CEO of We Are Nations
  • David Martin, Director of Esports Global

The Finalists:

Please note that the descriptions are based on The Clutch Digital 2020 pitches and may not necessarily represent what each company currently offers.

  • GamerPro – Mobile focused service provider
  • TEAMS – Player-connection platform
  • Puntt – Esports player betting platform
  • FANFUNDER – Fan-funded platform

The Clutch Digital, ESI Digital Summer

The latest edition of the Clutch was only in August 2020. After the success of the first digital event, Esports Insider pursued an ambitious five-day agenda with ESI Digital Summer – each day focusing on regional esports topics and broadcasts adjusted for regional time zones. The Clutch Digital made a summer comeback and again saw four finalists present their best pitches on the digital stage, but ultimately, the judges put forward Anzu as the victor.

The Judges:

  • Matthieu Dallon, CEO of Trust Esport Ventures
  • Helen Sarah Gammons, Relationship Manager – Media & Entertainment Group at HSBC Private Bank 
  • Spike Laurie, Venture Director at Hiro Capital 

The Finalists:

Please note that the descriptions are based on The Clutch Digital 2020 pitches and may not necessarily represent what each company currently offers.

  • 3D Aim Trainer – Multi-platform aiming simulator
  • XPlayn – Merchandise discovery and rating platform
  • Anzu – Integrated in-game advertising
  • Juked – Esports fan hub

The Clutch Digital, ESI Digital Winter

This brings us to November 2020, Esports Insider’s digital conference finale. ESI Digital Winter follows the trend and is hosting The Clutch Digital, supported by Deloitte & Nations Ventures. The deadline for applications for the ESI Digital Winter edition is Friday, November 6th. With only a few days left to enter, only one question remains: which new start-up will be selected to join The Clutch’s winner’s circle?

Learn more about this edition of The Clutch or go straight to the application form here.

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