Friday 2 July 2021 1:58 pm

Dele Alli-backed esports firm Excel raises £17m from City investors

Excel, a British esports franchise endorsed by Tottenham Hotspur footballer Dele Alli, has secured millions of pounds in funding from some of the City’s biggest investors.

The rapidly growing gaming organisation, which competes in the League of Legends and Fortnite divisions, today announced a £17m funding round.

JRJ Group, which bought a minority stake in Excel in 2018, is leading the investment alongside Toms Capital, the family office of former hedge fund manager Noam Gottesman.

IPGL, the private investment office of ICAP founder Lord Spencer, is also taking part in the round in addition to existing investors.

The family office of Alan Howard, the co-founder of hedge fund giant Brevan Howard, completes the list of high-profile City backers. International private equity firm TNF Investments is also contributing.

Excel will be valued at close to £100m pre-money following the deal, according to Sky News, which first reported the move.

The company said it will use the cash injection to bolster its infrastructure, expand into new territories and develop its digital platform.

Excel also said it will open its new London headquarters in Shoreditch this summer, providing a new hub for its business operations. 

The investment reflects the rapidly rising success of Excel, which was founded in 2014, as well as the increased interest in esports since the start of the pandemic.

The market is now thought to be worth £1bn, with a global fan base of 500m people.

City interest in the sector has been fuelled by stock market debuts for companies such as Guild Esports, which counts David Beckham among its shareholders.

Excel, which was founded by brothers Joel and Kieran Holmes-Darby, counts Dele Alli as an ambassador and has struck commercial partnerships with brands including BT.

Chief executive Wouter Sleijffers said: “Together with our investors, I’m truly excited to be entering the next chapter, building on Excel’s legacy and realising our shared vision for the future of esports and gaming. In a very short space of time, Excel has cemented itself at the top of British esports attracting significant support from investors, partners, our ambassador Dele Alli, and all on and off-stage talent.

“We now have all the elements in place to aim for more, to go from a household name in UK esports to an internationally recognised, diverse British gaming brand with the ability to derive maximum value from ongoing sector expansion and the growing digitisation of consumer behaviour.”