Mobalytics has raised $11.25 million in funding for its gaming assistant platform for players of games such as League of Legends. The company provides an automated way to give coaching advice to millions of wannabe pro gamers.
Providing analytics for such games might sound like overkill for many players, but Mobalytics has more than seven million players using the service, which delivers advice and actionable information in real time.
“I’ve always wanted a companion application when I’m playing and I think of it as similar to Google Assistant or Siri, but much more narrow in its focus for your gaming needs and wants,” said Amine Issa, co-CEO of Mobalytics, in an interview with GamesBeat. “That’s our goal. That’s how we’re a little different from the rest of the competition.”
Issa sees the opportunity as delivering intelligence and analytics that both amateur and professional players can use in games including Riot Games’ League of Legends, one of the most popular games in the world, as well as Riot’s newer titles including Valorant, Teamfight Tactics, and Legends of Runeterra.
Santa Monica, California-based Mobalytics provides its info in an easy-to-understand dashboard, or an overlay on the game. The system uses in-game data for players that is available through publisher Riot Games’ applications programming interface for its titles.
An obsession with performance
Issa was a competitive gamer when he was young. He got a doctorate in biomedical engineering, with a focus on human performance. That work was really focused on players in World of Warcraft, which Issa played as a pro gamer with the esports organization Fnatic. But the work also took him to study people at the top of their game everywhere, including Navy Seals, climbers of Mount Everest, fighter pilots, elite athletes, long-distance runners, and deep sea divers.
“I was exposed to a lot of fascinating experiences,” Issa said. “I stayed at the basecamp at Everest, and I went out to Air Force bases, and studied populations in the lab.”
Issa would track 60 different vital signs and used what was once a very expensive technology: eye tracking, which cost around $60,000 at the time. By following where these experts were looking, Issa could figure out what they were thinking and concentrating on. He could also track their cognitive decline, or when fatigue caused them to lose focus.
“The leading indicator was their gaze,” he said.
And that has turned out to be useful for tracking gaming performance as well. Mobalytics teamed up with eye-tracking firm Tobii, which tracks your eye movements of players to see exactly what you’re doing in a game. The eye-tracking technology is lower cost (around $200) now and it is being built into a number of gaming PCs.
Issa went on to try to find work in the game industry, but he had trouble landing a job. Riot Games’ League of Legends took off and Riot made the API for its game data publicly available through an API.
Issa cofounded Mobalytics to build the “Moneyball of esports” in 2016 with Bogdan Suchyk and Nikolay Lobanov. They participated in the TechCrunch Disrupt event in 2016 and won the Startup Battlefield contest.
“We automatically take inputs from your eye movements and we correlate them with in-game data and we tell you things like you weren’t looking at your minimap enough,” Issa said. “In this fight, you were completely unaware of your surroundings. That’s a digestible metric.”
After getting attention at the event, they raised $2.6 million in funding from Almaz Capital, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, and GGV Capital. And now the company has raised a new round led by Almaz Capital and Cabra VC. Other investors participating in the round include HP Tech Ventures, General Catalyst, GGV Capital, RRE Ventures, Axiomatic, and T1 Esports.
“The biggest thing is growing up playing games and looking at how the times have changed,” Issa said. “When we were young, we started in the days of Nintendo Power magazine, where you knew that if you had the issue of Nintendo Power, you knew how to pass a certain part of a game. We had Prima guide books. Then the internet came about and it got really noisy and crowded. And the goal of Mobalytics is to give everyone, regardless of their skill or time investment, the information they need, when they need it, with whatever game they’re playing.”
With the influx of capital, Mobalytics will expand into further development of its gaming assistant through better analytics and personalization. The company will also continue to add new games. The company plans to hire engineers and add additional product experts in the next six months. The company has 31 employees now.
Mobalytics has already established relationships with professional esports organizations, like Team Liquid, Golden Guardians, T1 and helped professional teams as a go-to scouting resource. Mobalytics makes money via ads that run in the platform, and it also makes money through subscriptions for those who don’t mind paying for extra guidance.
In 2019, Mobalytics became the official data partner for Riot Games, LSC Scouting Grounds, and also launched first of its kind eye-tracking data analysis for esports in the partnership with Tobii. There were a lot of rivals for a while, but some of them have gone by the wayside, Issa said.
“We set out to do the ultimate gaming companion,” Issa said. “Obviously, we’re not there yet. We’re only in four games. But that’s where we’d like to be. If you look at the next five to 10 years, that’s the ultimate mission. And that’s why we raised money this time around is so that we can expand the team, hire more engineers, get more product people, and get to that goal.”
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