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Ctrl gets gamer meal-replacement shakes into 750 Vitamin Shoppe stores

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Ctrl, a startup that makes healthy shakes and other nutritious food for gamers, is now available in 750 Vitamin Shoppe stores around the U.S.

As I mentioned in my last story, I normally don’t write about this kind of company, as meal-replacement shakes aren’t innovative. But cultural changes are afoot that make this an interesting move, as well as the fact that esports organization Faze Clan has invested in Ctrl, which has seen strong growth as a brand since getting started in late 2019.

The nutrition message is a good one for gamers, who haven’t always had the best eating habits and are stereotypically known for eating junk food and energy drinks.

Ctrl was started by one of the fathers of modern esports: Sundance DiGiovanni, a cofounder of Major League Gaming. That’s a company that was mocked for its vision all the way up to 2016 when Activision bought it for $46 million and used it as the foundation for its Overwatch League. He was joined by Skyler Johnson, former professional gamer and founder of Team EnvyUs (now Team Envy), along with entertainment executive and attorney Glenn Delgado, who most recently served as general counsel for Major League Gaming.

“It’s cool for us because we’re representing the gaming community,” Johnson said in an interview with GamesBeat. “It feels pretty good for us, with a full nationwide rollout.”

Above: Ctrl is available in 750 Vitamin Shoppe stores.

Image Credit: Ctrl

As Johnson noted, more companies are being formed on the basis of overturning stereotypes about gamers. Gamers have become a diverse group, and they’re not just nerdy and overweight young white males who live in their parents’ basements. And this new demographic of gamers is what makes them attractive as a target market for places like Vitamin Shoppe.

The Vitamin Shoppe’s brand will bring Ctrl’s meal-replacement shakes to a broader audience across the United States. The expansion into The Vitamin Shoppe marks the first retail move by the startup and builds on its growth since its October 2019 launch. Ctrl has supplied over 500,000 meals, gained Faze Clan’s support, and gotten some love from esports stars Seth “Scump” Abner and Doug “Censor” Martin.

It is available internationally, and it built a loyal fan base among gamers, streamers, and celebrities, Johnson said. Thanks to the esports connections, gamers heard about the product, and Ctrl didn’t have to spend much money on advertising, Johnson said. Rather, the company has focused on influencer marketing, where streamers help get the word out about the product to gamers.

“Things came out of the gate really strong for us,” Johnson said. “Things slowed down during COVID’s start with the shutdowns. Then we had a spike when we launched with Faze Clan.”

Above: Ctrl is tapping esports stars to promote its gamer food.

Image Credit: Ctrl

The Vitamin Shoppe stores will stock three flavors: Cinnamon Toast, Fruity Flakes, and Cocoa Crunch. Those are for folks who are a bit nostalgic about eating bowls of cereal.

“Even if the gamers don’t really care about digestive enzymes, or probiotics or prebiotics, we really did pay attention to the top-level ingredients that we could use,” Johnson said.

Ctrl stands for Catered To Real Life, and it’s an homage to the CTRL key on a gaming keyboard.

“They were sold for the beginning. It was honestly just a phone call that sealed the deal,” Johnson said. They loved how we paid homage to the gaming community with the name of Ctrl. The intention was to represent the gaming community and expand it to anyone who needs to eat.”

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Source: https://venturebeat.com/2021/03/03/ctrl-gets-gamer-meal-replacement-shakes-into-750-vitamin-shoppe-stores/

Esports

Fuse Ignite Debuts as Commercial Rights Consultancy For Esports, Sports, Entertainment

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Fuse unveiled a new commercial rights consultancy agency designed to enhance and expand the commercial capabilities of rights holders in the areas of sport, entertainment, esports, and lifestyle called Fuse Ignite. Part of the Omnicom Media Group, Fuse Ignite will engage with rights holders to help them navigate the “commercial cycle” of bringing IP to sale or license. 

Fuse Ignite will lean on its own in-house team along with specialist consultants from Omnicom Media Group to create what the company is calling a “one stop shop” suite of solutions. The company looks to transform sales propositions into more compelling investment opportunities for brand partners while boosting revenue streams through sponsorship, digital, and ecommerce.

While the official launch of Fuse Ignite was just announced, the company is already working with a number of rights holder clients, including Arsenal FC, England Netball, and the British Fashion Council.

The company recently helped Formula 1 enhance its approach to partner acquisition.

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Source: https://esportsobserver.com/fuse-ignite-consultancy-service/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fuse-ignite-consultancy-service

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Edward Gaming Partners With Electronic Automobile Maker HYCAN

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Edward Gaming (EDG) announced that it has signed a partnership deal with Chinese electronic automobile brand HYCAN. The announcement was made by Edward Zhu, founder of Chinese esports organization, on his Weibo social media page. HYCAN will act as EDG’s official designated partner, according to  Zhu’s post. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In addition, Zhu promised that if EDG could win the League of Legends Spring Split and go on to attend the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) in Iceland, he would gift an HYCAN  vehicle to an EDG fan. EDG has been 2:3 eliminated by Royal Never Give-Up in LPL Lower Bracket Final on Tuesday.

Founded in 2018, HYCAN is a joint brand of Guangzhou Automobile Group and China’s biggest electronic car company Nio and focuses on the low-end class in the automobile market. In 2020, Nio officially listed on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: NIO). Currently, the company has a $63.95B USD market cap at the time of writing. 

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Source: https://esportsobserver.com/edward-gaming-partners-hycan/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=edward-gaming-partners-hycan

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UTA Adds Immortals Gaming Club Co-Founder Clinton Foy as General Partner, Venture Capital

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Sports and entertainment firm UTA has announced the addition of Clinton Foy as a general partner to its UTA Ventures division. Foy will work to grow the company’s direct investing portfolio with a focus on venture funding.

Prior to joining UTA, Foy served as general partner and managing director for Crosscut Ventures, a firm active in the esports space. During his time with Crosscut, Foy was lead investor in several gaming and esports rounds including with Streamlabs, PlayVS, and Immortals Gaming Club. Foy is also a co-founder and co-owner of IGC.

His experience also extends to the development side of gaming, having previously worked as COO for Square Enix, best known for the popular Final Fantasy video game franchise.

UTA Ventures has already dipped its toe into esports, having previously invested in North American organization Cloud9.

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Source: https://esportsobserver.com/uta-adds-clinton-foy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uta-adds-clinton-foy

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Esports

Generation Esports Closes $10.8M Series A Investment 

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U.S.-based high school esports infrastructure startup Generation Esports announced that it has closed a $10.8M USD Series A financing round led by early-stage investment firm Altos Ventures with participation from FJ Labs and other investors. 

Generation Esports revealed that it intends to use the investment proceeds to support its community and student esports initiatives, including the Middle School Esports League and the High School Esports League (HSEL), which was created by Generation Esports founders and is currently partnered with more than 3.4K schools. 

Furthermore, the company announced that its sponsors ASUS, Intel, and the Army National Guard have pledged to support Generation Esports and its leagues in 2021 and beyond. 

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Source: https://esportsobserver.com/generation-esports-10-8m-series-a/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=generation-esports-10-8m-series-a

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