Gen.G raise $46 million with investments from Will Smith, Clippers minority owner

Gen.G fans watch their team at the League of Legends World Championships in November 2018. Provided by Riot Games

Gen.G, a multigame esports organization and parent company of the Overwatch League's Seoul Dynasty, have raised $46 million in funding, featuring investment from Will Smith and Los Angeles Clippers minority owner Dennis Wong, the company announced Wednesday.

The round is the latest major fundraising round and second largest of all time for an esports team. In October, fellow Overwatch League team owner Cloud9 raised $53.7 million in a round led by Chicago-based firm Valor Equity Partners. Gen.G declined to disclose the valuation of their company, as well as who led this round.

Contributing to the Gen.G round will be Wong, former Alibaba Group executive Michael Zeisser, MasterClass co-founder David Rogier, and the Dreamers Fund, which features Smith and Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda as two of its main shareholders. Other institutions investing in Gen.G include New Enterprise Associates, Conductive Ventures, Battery Ventures, Canaan Partners, SVB Capital and Stanford University.

"As we started to scale up the outreach, we really weren't feeling that we were in need of doing a round at this point," Gen.G CEO Chris Park told ESPN. "But there were so many opportunities for the company to grow, particularly in continuing to build what we think is a top-of-the-industry portfolio of franchises and teams in the top and emerging leagues and competitive circuits. As well as now, as we scale into the second phase of our company, really developing our community of fans all around the world, including with the development of content around our players and our content creators."

The new investment comes on the heels of the announcement that the Dynasty and the other 19 Overwatch League teams will move to their home markets in 2020 and begin hosting home matches on a regular basis. The Dynasty are currently the only Overwatch League team based in South Korea, one of the largest hubs for esports in the world.

Gen.G are among the organizations Overwatch League parent company Activision Blizzard has approached for its forthcoming Call of Duty franchise league, which is expected to launch in 2020, sources familiar with those conversations told ESPN. That league, which is led by former NFL executive Johanna Faries, is seeking buyers around the world at a price tag of $25 million, sources told ESPN in March.

Gen.G have also hired former MLB vice president Martin Kim as their vice president of strategic partnerships. Kim is the second MLB executive to join the organization in the past three months, with Park -- who served as a senior executive at MLB in two different stints -- having joined the organization in January.

"It was a really good fit for them and for me to be able to join a really diverse organization where we think we have, at the management level, the right mix of experience across media, technology, sports and gaming that position us really well to make the most of the many opportunities ahead of us," Park said.

In addition to Overwatch, Gen.G's portfolio includes teams in League of Legends, Call of Duty, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Fortnite, Apex Legends and Clash Royale. The company operates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, China and Seoul, the latter being where the company opened a training facility in November. Park, for now, is based in New York.

The fundraising round comes shortly after several other teams have gone on the market. Philadelphia 76ers and Dignitas parent Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment have agreed in principle to a deal that will see them acquire majority equity in League of Legends team Clutch Gaming for an investment of $20 million, as reported by ESPN on April 10.

Meanwhile, a group led by Texas Rangers owners Neil Leibman and Ray Davis and Houston Astros minority owner John Havens are looking to sell a majority stake in OpTic Gaming and Houston Outlaws parent company Infinite Esports & Entertainment for $150 million, sources told ESPN in January.