The Top Up and Coming Gaming and eSports Entrepreneurs

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Contributor, Benzinga
January 19, 2022

Many gamers grow up dreaming of a career in video games. Your parents may have doubted the potential of your Super Mario Bros or Madden obsession, but video gaming is now big business. 

Gamers can take home big paydays, and eSports even has its own section on the ESPN website. An investment in eSports can bring its own big payday. Take a look at the top up and coming gaming and eSports entrepreneurs to get started now. 

Why Follow eSports and Gaming Entrepreneurs?

Video games, virtual reality and television have come together to form an industry where gamers can now compete in front of large crowds and even bigger home audiences via streaming. While eSports is a modern invention, the concept of professional gaming and its stocks goes back decades. 

Take a look at our list of entrepreneurs who have had the vision and resources to help build the eSports industry from the ground up. 

The Top Up and Coming eSports and Gaming Leaders

We’ve highlighted the top names to keep an eye on as eSports moves forward. 

Jens Hilgers

Hilgers might be considered the Godfather of eSports because he’s been at it since the late 90s. In 1997, the German entrepreneur created a gaming news outlet while still in college and created networks of gaming communities through LAN parties. 

Hilgers’ big break came in 2000 when he created Turtle Entertainment, which now operates as ESL Gaming. ESL is the largest eSports company on the planet with gaming tournaments happening online and offline in stadium-sized venues. 

With over two decades of experience, there are few people in this space with more knowledge and expertise than Jens Hilgers. 

Hector Rodriguez

Hector Rodriguez, often known by his gaming moniker H3CZ, is a true American dream story. Rodriguez is one of the best Call of Duty players in the world and used his gaming acumen as a springboard into the eSports industry. 

Rodriguez has been involved with several companies in the space, but his recent reacquisition OpTic Gaming now puts him at the forefront of two major eSports ventures.  

John Robinson

Robinson entered the business in a more classical sense, having earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University and an MBA from UPenn. Robinson then worked at Bessemer Venture Partners before being hired as the first ever President and COO of 100 Thieves, a huge gaming organization with pro players in Call of Duty, Fortnite and League of Legends. 

100 Thieves has received attention from venture capital as well, with Marc Benioff and Sequoia Capital getting in on the Series A round of funding.

Robbie Douek

A French entrepreneur with a strong background, Douek is the current CEO of Blast!, a gaming and eSports company that recently raised 12.5 million euros in a financing round. 

Douek’s work history could fill a hard drive: he’s had stints at Google, YouTube, Disney and Maker Studios. Douek parlayed this experience into the CEO gig at Blast!, which organizes massive tournaments all over the globe. 

Naz Aletaha

Women are gamers too, and Naz Aletaha is one of the leading ladies in the eSports industry with a prominent role at Riot Games, the company behind the popular League of Legends game. 

Aletaha previously worked at Sony and Activision and was named to the Fortune Magazine 40 Under 40 for her work in developing partnerships with major brands like Red Bull, Mastercard and Louis Vuitton. 

Fabien Devide

Founder and President of Team Vitality, Fabien Devide began his eSports career with a mere 10,000 euros before building up one of the largest gaming companies in the space and recently received a 34 million euro cash infusion. 

Team Vitality has pros competing in League of Legends, Call of Duty, Rainbow Six, Rocket League, Valorent, and Counter Strike. Devide is one of France’s freshest success stories as he runs a multimillion euro gaming company and only recently turned 30 years old.  

The Future is Coming Fast with eSports

The eSports and gaming industry is here already. And if you’ve seen the streaming numbers the top gamers pull in, you’ll understand this isn’t some passing fad. 

Not only are eSports tournaments covered on major sports media like ESPN, but soon you’ll likely be able to wager on eSports and gaming events like the Super Bowl or World Series. In many ways, the future is now and these entrepreneurs are seizing the opportunity in front of them.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is eSports gaming a career?


Yes. Regardless of what your parents may have told you, playing video games certainly can be an enriching career. Now, you won’t get paid just to play Call of Duty in your basement, but if you have skills and the right personality, you can take home cash through a number of different avenues like eSports tournaments, Twitch and YouTube.

But you don’t have to be a professional gamer to make money in the eSports industry. You need to follow the trends and look at what the leaders in the space are doing. All of the entrepreneurs discussed today have LinkedIn and Twitter accounts so you can follow them and piggyback off their ideas. eSports is still a growing sector with plenty of untapped market potential, and ignoring this space wouldn’t be a wise move as an investor.

About Dan Schmidt

Dan has written about a wide range of topics including stocks and investing, cryptocurrencies, banking, student loans, and credit cards.