Bloomington Fund announces investment in esports startup from IU grad

BLOOMINGTON – Flywheel Fund, a member-managed capital fund run by The Mill, announced a $50,000 investment in beastcoast.

Beastcoast is an industry-leading esports and professional gaming content network led by co-CEOs Grant Zinn and Brian Anderson.

Grant Zinn
Brian Anderson

Pat East, Executive Director of the Mill, said, “Flywheel Fund is so fortunate to have the opportunity to invest in Beastcoast. E-sports viewership is growing by double-digits annually, and Beastcoast is the fastest-growing pro-gaming content creator online. It’s just a really cool company with tremendous potential that’s already being realized.” A Techstars company, Beastcoast has 1.5 million subscribers to 14 content channels.

Pat East

Anderson, a graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, developed the model for Beastcoast while working in finance. His work doing due diligence on the esports industry uncovered an opportunity to move away from the traditional model for physical sports, in which media rights, box office, merchandising and sponsorships drive revenue, to an integrated model that monetizes the content itself. The content advertising market size of esports is estimated at $400 billion. Beastcoast’s success is powered by tight relationships to a roster of top-level pro players with extensive fan bases.

“Beastcoast is extremely excited to announce an investment from Flywheel,” Anderson said in a statement, “especially because this partnership goes beyond just capital. Flywheel has already opened their incredible network of midwestern investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders to Beastcoast and is helping us continue to grow the leading gaming and esports content network online. I grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana, and went to school at IU Bloomington, so finding amazing midwestern partners is especially important to me. At Beastcoast, we love Flywheel’s support of Indiana entrepreneurs and are so proud to be the first investment in their second fund.”

Beastcoast closed its $2.5m pre-seed capital raise last week with participation from Elevate Ventures, Techstars, Andover Ventures, and other notable sports tech and media angel investors, including Steven Temares and Scott Dorsey.

Flywheel Fund launched in summer of 2020. Now in its second round, Flywheel Fund II has 49 members and $640,000 to invest. One-third of the fund is reserved for follow-on investments of $50,000 to $150,000 in Fund I’s five companies (BoostCivic ChampsFloWaste, Qualifi, and Stagetime), as merited by their progress, terms, and opportunity. The fund seeks early-stage and high-potential companies based in Indiana, with special attention to startups based in Bloomington and southern Indiana. Flywheel reserves a minimum of 13% of its funds for Black founding teams; the first round of the fund awarded 20% of funds to Black founding teams.

The Mill’s mission is to spark Bloomington’s innovation economy by launching and accelerating startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship.