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FDJ-backed fund invests in esports supplier PandaScore

| By Richard Mulligan
Esports data supplier PandaScore has raised €5m in a new funding round led by a subsidiary of French gaming giant La Française des Jeux (FDJ).

The Paris-headquartered startup will use the cash injection to expand its team in France and Malta, and enhance its product portfolio for bookmakers by covering more esports titles.

The funding round was led by FDJ-owned V13 Invest, which is managed by tech-focused investment fund Serena. Other investors in the round included existing investor Alven, sports-tech investor KB Partners and esports owner and investor aXiomatic Gaming.

Olivier Martret, principal at Serena, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted a significant lack of resilience among traditional bookmakers, who really need to increase their agility. This is where PandaScore can help. With FDJ, we are convinced that PandaScore’s tech is a key asset for bookmakers, enabling them to gain new market shares and more efficient and reliable services.”

PandaScore, a provider of real-time AI-powered odds, has recently agreed partnerships with sportsbook BetCris, esports betting platform Pixelbet and fantasy esports company Sleeper.

“Providing game-changing data for bookmakers is our way to fuel the growth of esports,” said PandaScore’s founder and chief executive, Flavien Guillocheau. “When bookmakers can offer great esports betting it also helps in raising sponsorships for teams and tournaments.”

FDJ chief executive Stéphane Pallez launched V13 Invest in July 2019 as a vehicle to assist new startups. The group said the €30m fund was designed to enhance business processes in the sector.

Commenting on the launch last year, FDJ said: “The aim of this strategy is to accelerate the company’s in-depth transformation by infusing it with a digital culture and fostering a better anchoring in the innovation ecosystem.”

PandaScore was founded by esports enthusiasts Guillocheau and Jonathan Retterer in 2015. In 2017, the business raised $2.8m in a seed round led by Alven, with the investor taking a 23.5% stake.

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