28 Jul IU Angel Network Invests in Esports Leader Focused on Diversity in Gaming
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IU Angel Network Invests in Esports Leader Focused on Diversity in Gaming
BLOOMINGTON, IN—The IU Angel Network has invested in beastcoast, an esports team and startup co-led by Indiana University alumnus Brian Anderson. Anderson went from working on Wall Street to co-running beastcoast, a team that represents 30 of the world’s most talented professional gaming competitors and influencers with a focus on keeping gaming fun and inclusive. Beastcoast has the first female professional Rainbow Six Siege player, and they recently signed the first transgender professional Super Smash Brothers gamer.
The company’s motto is “Making Waves,” which means making a difference in the community.
“One of the best parts about gaming is that everyone can do it,” said Anderson. “There is technology available for literally anyone, of any ability, to be included and have fun. You can meet new people who become some of your best friends. We are a team for everybody, and we want to continue to build a brand around those values.”
After graduating from IU, Anderson worked at different investment banks, where a networking opportunity led him to meet beastcoast co-CEO and founder Grant Zinn. Working with IU Ventures has helped get beastcoast on the radar, he said, as well as provided the opportunity to connect with “powerful movers-and-shakers,” as well as interested supporters.
“Beastcoast is unique in that they cross over into a variety of different verticals, but also in that they are willing to explore opportunities even if on the surface the connection might be a stretch,” said Jason Whitney, executive director of the IU Angel Network and vice president of venture development at IU Ventures. “Their open-mindedness and commitment to their values is an asset that serves them and their community, including IU, in many positive ways.”
Anderson joined beastcoast after meeting Zinn and his father at a conference in Brooklyn in 2018, when they were just starting to get beastcoast off the ground.
“They had this twinkle in their eye, and I knew I wanted to work with them,” said Anderson, who leads the company’s sales team and funding efforts. “When I started, we were a team of three. We just recently hired our 60th employee.”
A graduate of the IU Kelley School of Business, Anderson cited the school’s diverse curriculum as a contributing factor to his success.
“I always knew I wanted to be in gaming; my thesis was about econometrics in esports to improve performance,” he said. “I didn’t study entrepreneurship; my major was finance, public policy, and economics. But I still pitched case studies and business cases, which was a great insight into the real world of business. It wasn’t just learning about accounting and finance, but also leadership and presentation skills.”
Anderson also credits IU Ventures’ Founders and Funders Fireside Chat series for helping to increase awareness of beastcoast among students and alumni. He was recently the first speaker in the series.
“Our Founders and Funders Fireside Chat series is designed to provide opportunities for our students and alumni to engage with innovative founders,” said Whitney. “Aside from being an entertaining presenter, Brian and his team are working in a space that is very popular with the students, so I knew they would be excited to visit with him and ask meaningful questions of him.”