First women esports team secures US$500k to establish ground in SEA

A women esports organisation Callisto Gaming has raised US$500,000 of funding to aid in establishing a foothold in the Southeast Asia region within the next six months. With the new fund, Callisto will focus on scouting women esports players across the globe to join the organisation, and develop a base of gamers who enjoy streaming and aspire to become content creators and/or social media influencers.

Earlier in April 2019, Callisto bagged a sum of capital from its founders and angel investors for a soft launch for its pilot project in Taiwan. The company is currently in the midst of securing more investments to finalise the seed round. Callisto first launched a pilot program in Taiwan six months ago, and claims to have since garnered over 500,000 followings across its social media channels and players' personal fans base.

In addition, the organisation also partnered with established businesses such as Mandopop King Jay Chou's esports team J-Team and International modelling agency CatWalk, both based in Taiwan. According to Callisto, this has provided the organisation with insights and directions to venture into the esports and cross-entertainment industries.

Meanwhile, in 2020, Callisto aims to graduate from its pilot program and officially launch in Singapore, focusing on the Southeast Asia's esports market. The organisation also looks to actively seeking sponsorships and long-term partnerships with Singapore and the region's businesses; with confidence that skilled women gamers will eventually be able be represented in and compete in open international leagues. Min Ying, CEO of Callisto said: "By providing women gamers a safe space with increased opportunities to excel in what they love (gaming), we wish to encourage more women to see professional gaming as a viable route to take and also to build up an international supportive community of women gamers."

Esports is booming in markets such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Esports was recognised for the first time as a sport and was included in this year's SEA Games 2019 held in Phillipines.

Most recently, Garuda Indonesia launched a game character named “GIA” in Indonesian mobile game, Lokapala: Saga of The Six Realms. Garuda Indonesia CEO Ari Askara said this will generate more interest in professional gaming and make Indonesia’s esports industry more competitive globally.

For over a year now, Singtel, Domino's, Razer are among brands who have continuously pushed for esports to be recognised in local markets as well. Luxury brand Louis Vuitton recently made foray into esports, in a partnership with Riot Games, while Chinese smartphone company Oppo officially came onboard as global smartphone partner for League of Legends (LoL) esports international events.