Jack and Paullie Etienne founded the esports company Cloud9 back in 2013. The company has continuously resembled more of a mom-and-pop operation as Jack’s father, a retired lawyer, also pitched in towards the pair’s business. His father initially came to visit Jack, when he discovered the floor covered in shirts, sweaters and hoodies. The couple continues to stay occupied by stuffing envelopes and shipping merchandise out to fans. His father desired to help, so he began shipping merchandise as well, and later served as the company’s first, official legal counsel.
“At our heart, we really were a family business,” says Jack, Cloud9’s CEO. This particular family business landed another successful win this year, as the company announced it received $50 million in Series B funding on Monday. The round was led by Valor Equity Partners, while its founder and managing partner, Antonio Gracias, joined Cloud9’s board. Others who invested include, TrueBridge Capital Partners, Reimagined Ventures and Glassdoor founder Robert Hohman.
Neilsen states Cloud9 has the broadest reach in both the United States and the United Kingdom, which helped make merchandising one of its most mighty revenue segments yet. Etienne currently has an operational team of 35, however, he plans to build out a team to create a more robust team, while also increasing the team’s retail footprint.
Just as North American peers Team Liquid and TSM, Cloud9 has also begun plans for a 20,000-to-30,000 square foot training facility and home base for its operations in Los Angeles. The company’s unique team will practice at the facility, while also integrating its staff of managers, a sports psychologist, a physical therapist and chef. Forbes reports it will definitely be finished by the end of 2019, but Etienne is hoping to be officially up and running by the start of next year’s competitions.
“Your 14-year-old daughter loves Overwatch and wants nothing more than to get coached and participate in a league—this could be the place that you take her for practice on Wednesday afternoon every week,” Fiden says. “I am so excited for the future of Cloud9.”