🇳🇴 Magnus Carlsen’s Fantasy Chess: $3m raised in pre-seed funding

June 27, 2024
From the left: Magnus Carlsen (Worlds highest rated chess player, Co-founder Fantasy Chess), Mats André Kristiansen (Co-founder & CEO Fantasy Chess), Magne Uppman (Founding Partner SNÖ)

Fantasy Chess, an interactive Chess platform founded by 17 time World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, is thrilled to share that it has raised $3 million in a pre-seed funding round to engage chess fans in a completely new way. The round was led by SNÖ Ventures and Coatue with additional participation from Breakthrough Initiatives and Thiel Capital. This capital will be used to build, expand and improve the core Fantasy Chess platform, which is still in a closed beta.

Founded in April 2023, Fantasy Chess is on a mission to make chess more engaging and accessible by giving its users an opportunity to follow top chess tournaments in a more rewarding way.

“Interest in Chess has really boomed over the past 5 years with popular TV shows, movies and documentaries. Using other sports as a model, we see an exciting opportunity to further develop Chess into a much bigger spectator sport.,” said Carlsen.

Carlsen brought in Mats André Kristiansen as Chief Executive Officer to lead and develop the platform further. Kristiansen is well-versed in building and scaling digital products having previously co-founded Scandinavia’s largest online grocery retailer, Oda, which has been lauded as Norway’s first-ever startup unicorn.

“Our vision at Fantasy Chess is to elevate chess to the same level of excitement as other major global sports by creating a much more rewarding fan experience. We are already seeing promising proof points in Norway, where Chess’ popularity has exploded given the excitement surrounding Magnus’s success. Millions are now watching and following Chess live and we feel we can grow the global audience significantly with a more user-friendly and engaging platform” says Kristiansen.

With plans to officially launch Fantasy Chess later this year, the team is confident that they will be able to attract millions of users who already play the game casually, but are struggling to find the right outlet where they can follow professional Chess tournaments more easily.

SNÖ Ventures, who led the round, are excited to partner with Fantasy Chess.

“Imagine combining the greatest chess player of all time with a proven unicorn co-founder in a huge untapped market – that’s a formula that excites us immensely,” says Magne Uppman of SNÖ Ventures. “We’re thrilled to be leading this investment alongside fantastic co-investors to support Fantasy Chess in it’s mission to add a new level of excitement to the world of chess,” shares Magne Uppman, founding partner of SNÖ.

Ben Schwerin, General Partner at Coatue adds, “Even though Chess is one of the world’s oldest games, there is a huge opportunity to make it more accessible and more engaging. We’re excited by the opportunity to support such a strong team, in such a big market, with such a grand ambition.”

Peter Thiel, founder of Thiel Capital and co-founder of PayPal, Palantir, and Founders Fund, continues,“Great chess players excel at ideas and winning – two concepts the Fantasy Chess team understands better than most.”

Fantasy Chess will be based out of Oslo and plans to build a global team to engineer, support, and market the platform as it comes online. The company is planning to launch their platform officially in October.

Originally published on 25 June by Fantasy Chess.

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