Drake invests in esports startup despite previous Twitch drama

Olivia Richman • March 29, 17:25

It appears that Drake’s negative interactions with Fortnite streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins haven’t turned the rapper off from the growing esports industry. 

Drake recently announced that he has invested in Player’s Lounge, an esports startup that will allow players to make wagers on matches against their opponents. He is but one of the company’s recent Silicon Valley investors, which also include Comcast, Macro Ventures, and Marissa Mayer. 

The startup closed $3 million in funding. 

For the past five years, Player’s Lounge has been organizing in-person FIFA matches at bars in New York City. Now, the company is looking to grow their operation by becoming an online hub for gamers looking to battle each other in such sports titles as FIFA 19, NBA 2K19, and Madden 19.

Games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are also being considered. 

“In 2019 we plan on expanding our development team, supporting more games, adding streaming functionality and creating new formats for our community to compete in,” CEO Austin Woolridge said.

While a few states don’t allow for these services, Player’s Lounge hasn’t had many issues with gambling regulations since these are games of skill, not chance. 

Last year, Drake joined Ninja on a Fortnite stream that broke Twitch viewing records. Even though the collaboration boosted Ninja’s follower count, the Fortnite streamer seemed to think Drake was using Ninja to get clout in the gaming scene. 

“Is he going to buy my next line of Ninja merch? Or my Ninja headband? Probably not,” Ninja said during a live stream. 

The controversial Fortnite personality tried to save face later, calling Drake “a genius,” but it was too late. Drake had already unfollowed Ninja for his previous comments. 

Ninja later accused Drake of not paying him the $5,000 he allegedly promised him for a Fornite match. 

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