BITKRAFT Ventures announces close of $165 million venture fund

BITKRAFT staff members, with former ESL CEO and G2 Esports chairman Jens Hilgers in the center. BITKRAFT

BITKRAFT Ventures, the venture capital company led by former ESL CEO and G2 Esports chairman Jens Hilgers, announced the close of a new $165 million venture fund that will be used to invest in various companies throughout gaming, esports and media.

Individual backers of the new fund include Carolwood, the family office of Golden State Warriors executive board member Brush Karsh; Declaration Partners, the investment firm of the family of Smithsonian Institution chairman David Rubenstein; and JS Capital, the investment firm of Friends of Democracy political action committee co-founder Jonathan Soros.

Companies who are contributing to the fund include Adidas, marketing firm WPP, Condé Nast owner Advance and Logitech. Karsh and Rubenstein are also both investors in aXiomatic, the venture fund that owns the majority stake in Team Liquid and is led by Karsh, Warriors co-owner Peter Guber, Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. Disney, the parent company of ESPN, is also an investor in aXiomatic.

"We are grateful to our investors for their confidence in our team's ability to identify talent, trends, and opportunities in the gaming and esports space," Hilgers said in a press release. "At BITKRAFT, we don't just support forward-thinking entrepreneurs with capital, but also provide experience, resources, and our global network. While we are living in challenging times, our industry is experiencing strong tailwinds and unprecedented opportunity. There is no better time for BITKRAFT to invest."

Hilgers founded BITKRAFT shortly after he stepped down from ESL as their chairman. Since then, BITKRAFT has invested in a number of companies in esports and gaming, such as The Esports Observer, Epic Games, The Story Mob, VENN and others. BITKRAFT is also an investor in the Roundhill-ran NERD ETF, which is the first exchange-traded fund that allows for consumers to invest broadly across the esports industry.