Actor Will Smith and Japanese soccer legend Keisuke Honda are among the new investors in esports franchise Gen.G, which announced a new $46 million round of financing Wednesday.
Smith and Honda’s Dreamers Fund, a investment vehicle they launched last year, are joined by Los Angeles Clippers minority owner Dennis Wong and Michael Zeisser, former chairman of U.S. investments at Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
“It’s exciting to see the worlds of technology, media, sports and now celebrity come together,” said Chris Park, chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based Gen.G.
Gen.G operates teams in seven different video games and has offices in China, South Korea and the U.S. Its franchises include the Overwatch League’s Seoul Dynasty, which will move to South Korea from Los Angeles next year.
In addition to handling that transition, Gen.G is expanding in China, investing in player development and trying to increase revenue from esports-specific areas like streaming and the sale of in-game items.
“The coming years are going see our company really start to crystallize its identity, not just as a brand, but also as an enterprise,” Park said.
To that end, Smith and Honda will join 11-time National Basketball Association All-Star Chris Bosh, already a Gen.G adviser, in helping grow Gen.G’s media presence. That includes creative and commercial projects, and helping Gen.G athletes with content creation.
Other new investors in Gen.G include Battery Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, MasterClass co-founder David Rogier and Stanford University. Silicon Valley Bank, which helped with the fundraising, is becoming both an investor and a sponsor.