Swedish Startup Space

After internal fights – Ninjas in Pyjamas set sales record

Written by on August 17, 2016
Editors Note: This post is part of a series called Featured posts, presented by Breakit.

Beginning as computer game hobbyists, today they have nearly $2.1 million in sales.

Founded in 2000, Ninjas in Pyjamas, or NiP, is one of Sweden’s classic e-sports teams competing in the Counter-Strike computer game. By 2007, NiP seemed to be dead, but in 2012, the team came back from the grave.

Over the years, the game has changed, as NiP evolved into an umbrella organization for a number of e-sports teams. Big media companies, with MTG in the forefront, are trying to get in on the e-sport action.

Today, NiP has successful teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and a new team in the Overwatch game. Over the years, the company has had teams competing in several other games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends.

With ninjas Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund and Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg in the lead, last April NiP won the $100,000 first prize at the Dreamhack Masters competition held in Malmö, Sweden.

The company’s recent annual report shows that millions more are rolling in. Ninjas in Pyjamas Gaming reached record sales of $2.1 million in 2015, but showing profits of a meager $83,000. Revenues come primarily from the e-sport teams’ winnings, along with sales of merchandise and computer game accessories.

Breakit can now report that NiP recently raised nearly $600,000 via a new share offering, at a $12,5 million valuation. The Norwegian firm Nyx Ventures were the sole investor, grabbing all of the 500 new shares.

“This gives the company opportunity for continued growth,” NiP wrote in their yearly report.

Ninjas in Pyjamas started as player-owned and controlled, but as the team’s success grew, as did the e-sports phenomenon, NiP became more professional.

NiP was previously owned by E-Sports Production AB, which went bankrupt, and whose owner was convicted of accounting fraud. Since early 2014, the Norwegian firm Digilife has controlled Ninjas in Pyjamas Gaming AB. 

But the Ninjas have continued to be mired in controversy. Last year, shareholders fired the CEO and other management staff after players published allegations that wages had not been paid. Now, according to the company’s annual report, the errors are being investigated.

But further discrepancies, including late payment of tax and VAT, mean the company’s auditors can not confirm NiP’s 2015 annual report.

“We have solved the previous leadership problems. The company is now well established and well prepared for future growth”, Hicham Chahine comments.

Ninjas in Pyjamas owns a part of Xtrfy, which sells merchandise and Area08, which will hold camp events for e-sports youths. Xtrfy had sales of $7.1 million, while Area08, had no sales to speak of.

The company’s plans for the future are ambitious.

“We will continue to grow to be one of the world’s largest brands. We are going to continue to be pioneers within e-sportsa and invest in our business focusing on content, distribution, merchandise and partnerships”, Hicham Chahine says, and continues:

“Vi are going to support our current teams, and possibly add new ones.”

Here are the main shareholders of Ninjas in Pyjamas:

HeatoN Holding: 4,500 shares

Linked to Emil Christensen, former player and later coach of Ninjas in Pyjamas.

Digilife: 4,000 shares

A Norwegian company that invests in e-sports, among other things. Invested in Ninjas in Pyjamas in 2014.

RspCT Europeans: 1,000 shares

Controlled by Patric Jönsson, who took over as NiP CEO last autumn after the removal of the previous management by shareholders.

ReMass Scandinavia: 500 shares

A company which, according to its website, leases massage chairs. Patric Jönsson is CEO.

Nyx Ventures: 500 shares

Norwegian investment company that became a via a new offering last year.

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