Crédit Agricole Private Equity invests in German company Turtle Entertainment, European market leader in electronic sports (eSports)

Crédit Agricole Private Equity is acting as lead manager in Turtle Entertainment GmbH’s second round of financing alongside Corporate Finance Partners CFP & Founders Investments and longstanding shareholder EKK Unternehmensbeteiligungen.

The aim of this round of financing is to drive ahead the company’s international roll-out and enhance its technological platform.

Based in Cologne, Germany, and founded in 2000, Turtle Entertainment is European market leader in electronic sports (eSports) and founder of the Electronic Sports League (ESL). ESL operates all over the world via 12 licensed partners in 35 countries.
The company has the largest electronic sports league in Europe, with nearly 2 million members and over 490,000 teams. Turtle Entertainment connects PC and console gamers through competitions, online leagues in a number of countries and by organising live tournaments.

By creating an online community linked to attractive offline events, Turtle Entertainment offers both sponsors and advertisers an unparalleled integrated platform enabling them to reach the strategic youth market. Its clients include leading international brands such as Intel, Adidas, Volkswagen and Dell.

Turtle Entertainment’s aim is to run the largest online gaming community in Europe and China. Its revenues are generated primarily from sponsorship, advertising, premium subscriptions and sales of games.

Christian Claussen, Senior Partner within Crédit Agricole Private Equity’s Venture Capital Team in charge of business development in Germany and Northern Europe, comments: “Turtle Entertainment is the top organiser of electronics sports competitions in Europe, with an excellent reputation and strong prospects for growth. The company has successfully benefited from the trend for this leisure activity. Turtle has designed a platform to organise online competitions in a very wide variety of
games categories, providing a perfect virtual reproduction of live sports, with an effective sponsorship strategy. Its position in electronic sports is similar to that of FIFA in football.
We are delighted to be working with such an innovative and fast-growing company as an active investor providing the capital needed to support its expansion.”

Jens Hilgers, CEO of Turtle Entertainment, states: “Since it was founded, Turtle Entertainment has launched a number of initiatives to encourage the promotion of this form of entertainment in accordance with Germany’s relatively strict legislation concerning protection of young people. A recent study by Hamburg Media School showed that electronic sports communities have a beneficial effect on gamers, allowing them in particular to build up a network of lasting social contacts. Crédit Agricole Private Equity’s involvement as a new investor will enable us to promote this communitybased culture and develop our operations, particularly outside Europe.”

This investment reflects Crédit Agricole Private Equity’s desire to strengthen its position in the German venture capital market, with the aim of investing €8-12 million a year in innovative German companies.

Press contacts
Martine Sessin-Caracci, +33 (0)1 43 23 90 88,
Frank Zscheile, +49 (0)89 540 35 114,

Legal Advice
For Crédit Agricole Private Equity: BMH Bräutigam&Partner/Berlin
For Turtle Entertainment: Osborne Clarke/Cologne

About Crédit Agricole Private Equity
Crédit Agricole Private Equity is an AMF-accredited asset management subsidiary of Crédit Agricole S.A., specialising in direct investment in non-listed companies. A multi-specialist player in the private equity market, it has a team of 50 investors operating in a variety of fields (LBO & Expansion, Venture Capital, Mezzanine, Co-Investment, Renewable Energy, PPP Infrastructure, etc.), and manages €2.8 billion through various private equity vehicles (FCPRs, SICARs, FCPIs and SCRs).
The 12-strong venture capital team manages €400 million through FCPIs invested in young companies with high growth potential in 2 sectors: information technology and life sciences.

About EKK Dr. Engelhardt, Kaupp, Kiefer Unternehmensbeteiligungen
EKK invests in small high-tech companies with a proven business model and presenting excellent prospects for growth. On the strength of its experience and via reasonable equity commitments, EKK helps companies generating sales of €1-3 million a year to increase their sales to €10-30 million a year. EKK has actively supported Turtle’s development since acquiring a stake in the company in 2002.

Dr. Tobias Engelhardt, +49 711 518764 10,

About Corporate Finance Partners CFP & Founders Fund Investments GmbH & Co. KGaA Based in Frankfort and founded in 1998, CFP & Founders Investments is an investment fund of Corporate Finance Partners CFP Beratungs-GmbH (CFP), a firm specialised in M&A and financial engineering. Its commitments are coming from CFP Beratungs-GmbH’s transactions or from CFP & Founders Investments’ network which comprises 130 investors from the Internet, IT, Software, Clean Tech, Medien und Medizintechnik sectors. The fund manages €23.2 million in assets.

Florina Starzacher, +49 69 90747612,

About Turtle Entertainment
Turtle Entertainment GmbH, founded in 2000, is European market leader in electronic sports (eSports). Via the Electronic Sports League (ESL), Turtle operates in 35 countries across all five continents. More than 2 million users are registered on the league portal, which attracts over 10 million unique visitors per month (source: IVW), making it one of Germany’s most frequently visited websites. Since 2007, Turtle Entertainment has also broadcast ESL content on the IPTV ESL TV channel. Turtle Entertainment, based in Cologne, has over 150 employees.

ESL is operated all over the world via a dozen licensed partners and a subsidiary. Turtle Entertainment has held a majority stake in the Chinese eSports league, PGL, since 2007, allowing it to gain a foothold in the fast-growing Asian market. Turtle Entertainment GmbH’s main partners are international companies and brands such as Intel, Adidas, Volkswagen, Dell, Suzuki, ASUS, BitDefender, Sennheiser, Windows Vista, Sidewinder, Razor, Alienware and

Turtle Entertainment markets its products all over the world under the following brands: Electronic Sports League (ESL), ESL Amateur Series, ESL Pro Series, ESL Major Series, ESL European Nations Championship (ENC), ESL WC3L Series, ESL TV, Intel Extreme Masters, Consoles Sport League, United Consoles League, eSport Schulmeisterschaft, eSports Award and ESL Sports.
Turtle Entertainment paid out more than €3 million in prize money up to the end of 2008. Its other business activities are ESL Shop, which offers associated products and electronic and gaming equipment.

What is the Electronic Sports League?

The Electronic Sports League (ESL), with over 490,000 teams and nearly 2 million registered users, is the largest and most important league for electronic sports enthusiasts in Europe. Founded by Turtle Entertainment GmbH in 2000, ESL offers more than 3,500 leagues and sports of all kinds. Nearly 250,000 matches currently take place on the platform each month. Its website,, receives more than 10 million visits each month (source: IVW) and attracts thousands of new subscribers.

ESL currently operates all over the world with the support of 12 licensed partners in 35 countries. International companies and brands such as Intel, Adidas, Volkswagen, Dell, Suzuki, ASUS, BitDefender, Sennheiser, Windows Vista, Sidewinder, Razor, Alienware and work with ESL as partners. ESL created a Chinese section in cooperation with ProGamerLeague in February 2007.

ESL has organised a league consisting of three levels. 90% of its members play in free ladders, nearly 9% take part in the ESL Amateur Series, a league intended for high-aiming players, and 1% of players enter professional leagues.

Intel has worked with ESL’s professional segment – the ESL Pro Series, the leading electronic sports league – since 2001. The highlight of the ESL Pro Series, which offers prize money of €130,000 per season, is the Intel Friday Night Games, which take place throughout the season in 10 different cities, each attracting up to 2,000 viewers. Finals attract audiences of up to 120,000, including those who go to the event itself and those who watch it on television or use the Live Newsticker. The ESL Pro Series is in its 13th season since it was founded and has become one of the major institutions of the gaming world.

For further information, visit the website.

Ibrahim Mazari, Public Relations Director
Turtle Entertainment GmbH
Siegburger Str. 189
50679 Köln
Tel: +49 221-880449

Tel: +49 221-880449-230
Fax: +49 221-880449-239