Will the next generation of esports stars learn to bend it like Beckham?
Probably not. But they are in line to receive financial backing from the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder.
That’s because Becks’ DB Ventures has teamed up with AIM-listed Blue Star Capital PLC (LON:BLU) to scout the next generation of competitive gamers.
Both investors took part in Guild Esports’ £25mln fundraising, with Blue Star (up 15% this week) buying £480,000-worth of shares at 6p each to maintain its 11.7% stake.
Guild is coaching Britain’s prospective esports stars using the academy model pioneered in football.
“Throughout my career I’ve been lucky enough to work with players at the top of their game, and I’ve seen first-hand the passion and dedication it takes to play at that level,” said Becks, who is also co-owner of newly formed MLS franchise Inter Miami.
“I know that determination lives in our esports athletes today and at Guild we have a vision to set a new standard, supporting these players into the future.”
Guild’s inaugural team will debut in the autumn for the 2020/21 with teams competing in Rocket League, EA Sports FIFA and Fortnite.
Sticking with the online theme, Escape Hunt PLC (LON:ESC) jumped 23% to 9p after launching the virtual version of its escape rooms.
The entertainment firm tapped into the ‘at home’ leisure market by allowing groups of up to six players to meet over Zoom to solve puzzles to get out of Doctor Who-themed rooms.
Looking at the wider market, the AIM All-Share index ended the week 0.5% lower at 887, while the FTSE 100 fell 1.5% to 6,217.
Catching the eye this week was renewable energy firm SIMEC Atlantis Energy PLC (LON:SAE).
It 78% to 19p after it confirmed that waste converted to pellets can be burnt to fuel the Uskmouth power project in the UK, a milestone to reach financial close on its deal to repurpose the coal-fired power station.
It also received approval from the French authorities to transfer a lease so it can develop a potential multi-hundred-megawatt marine energy project in Raz Blanchard, in Normandy.
Elsewhere, online instruments retailer Gear4music Holdings PLC (LON:G4M) was up 35% to the tune of 414p after announcing April and May have seen exceptionally strong trading as people explore their musical talents during lockdown.
In the pharma sector, Allergy Therapeutics PLC (LON:AGY) climbed 25% to 14p after revealing its 2020 net profit will be significantly above market expectations.
IT services provider Redcentric Plc (LON:RCN) surged 18% to 127p after raising its expectations for quarterly recurring revenue orders and customer installations, although it is not recommending a final dividend for the year to March to save cash amid the pandemic.
Meanwhile, sports product distributor Tandem Group PLC (LON:TND) pedalled 15% higher to 283p after revealing interim revenue has grown 7% on 2019 as demand for wheeled toys, outdoor products and bicycles is showing no sign of abatement.
Virtual meeting specialist LoopUp Group PLC (LON:LOOP) looped up 14% to 136p after once again raising trading forecasts, thanks to increased working from home arrangements during lockdowns.
Similarly, Tavistock Investments PLC (LON:TAVI) gained 8% to 1p on the back of a strong performance from its protection portfolios for the first two months of its financial year.
Sustainable biopesticides maker Eden Research PLC (LON:EDEN) advanced 8% to 8p after being granted two important patents for its Sustaine technology, which consists of biodegradable micro-spheres derived from yeast extract, in the US.
In the fallers, children’s entertainment and education brand Live Company tumbled 22% to 11p after raising £400,000 by placing shares at 10p a pop, representing a 20% discount, to help fund its planned build programme for 2020.
Finally, immersive virtual reality business Immotion, which operates in zoos and aquariums, lost 18% to 2p after admitting the period since mid-March has been extremely challenging, anticipating that many sites will remain closed until at least June 30 and revenue will be zero or minimal.