An Icelandic startup is banking on esports and the ability of ultra-competitive games to keep kids busy as they practice various game techniques and scenarios, chasing their dreams of one day grace a major esports scene.
Yesterday, Iceland’s Esports Coach Academy (ECA) revealed it raised a $750,000 pre-seed round for its esports coaching software platform and training strategies, and is now opening the way to penetrate more foreign markets, after a good start of its concept in Iceland.
The round is led by Sweden Here are the companies (Fresh after unveiling a $25.9 million fundraiser for the Nordic games scene a few days ago.) Additional funding is provided by the All Button Brewing Fund Sisu Game Venturesand also Icelandic VC MGMT Ventures.
ECA gives any coach access to the tools, resources, and knowledge needed to start their own youth esports programming, in a variety of computer game entries.
The software is sold as a service that allows coaches to take their “badges” into esports coaching, learning every element of coaching strategies and focus areas needed to help players succeed. Additional courses include “exercise in esports” and “nutrition in esports”.
Beyond Iceland, ECA has entered into early partnership agreements in the United States, Puerto Rico as well as nationally, with more agreements expected to follow.
Esports made its unofficial debut this year as a trial sport at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England (a multi-sport competition similar to the Olympics but focused on the former British Commonwealth).
Opponents complain that esports is a cheesy business, but it’s becoming quite easy to say otherwise, thanks to professionalized competitions and diverse gaming teams, with big-name franchises like the esports team of Paris Saint-Germain (aligned with Parisian football giants PSG) and the Red Bull sponsored Gaming Club OG.
To win, esports players need sharp mental skills and will make snap judgments with near-zero response time, while knowing the specific strategies of a given esport through and through. .
Coaches can help, but they themselves need software tools to track game patterns, technical changes that might affect how each esport is played, and lifestyle adjustments that might impact performance.
The ECA says its software platform has the tools, resources and knowledge to enable “any” coach to start working on a player’s in-game prowess, as well as the physical and social skills needed to follow the game.
Co-founder Ólafur Steinarsson began creating a grassroots-led esports environment for Iceland in 2018, rooted in coaching qualifications to ensure children receive proper instruction.
Today, around 3% of children in Iceland are enrolled in one of the country’s esports training clubs, according to the ECA. And it seems that thanks to Steinarsson’s concept, esports isn’t just all the rage in the schoolyard, but it’s feeding kids enough to convince parents it’s a good idea.
Steinarsson said, “With the Esports Coaching Academy, we’re bringing the same methodology and programming to the rest of the world.”