HSBC UK backs Esports insider’s The Clutch


HSBC UK has backed Esports insider’s pitch investment competition ‘The Clutch’, which will return this year at ESI London on October 19th.

The Clutch will see startups in the esports, video game and creator economy industries compete live with investment pitches, with winners walking away with £3,000 cash.

Additional prizes will be provided by HSBC UK and EXCEL ESPORTS, the Official Incubator Partner University of Warwick’s Creative Futures, and the Official Community Marketing Partner Socially.

A panel of four judges have been selected by Esports Insider and will bring their combined expertise and insight into investments, business development, esports, video games and the creator economy in order to determine the winner of this edition of The Clutch. This year’s judges include:

  • Will Turner – Head of Strategic Growth, Partnership & Innovation, HSBC UK
  • Kartik Arya – Co Head, HSBC Kinetic
  • Mark Carter – Commercial Director, EXCEL ESPORTS

HSBC UK and EXCEL ESPORTS will provide additional support to The Clutch winner, helping them develop their business and open a world of opportunity through HSBC’s global network. Alongside access to marketing workshops and brand building in the esports and gaming sectors with EXCEL ESPORTS’ specialised teams, the winner will also be granted usage of EXCEL’s London and Berlin offices.

The Clutch is open to startup companies in or prior to their first seed round that have a focus on esports, video games, or the creator economy space.

The deadline for The Clutch is October 2nd 2023 and submissions can be entered here. Once closed, Esports Insider will select a maximum of four of the best submissions which will then be presented by the entrants live in front of the panel of judges as well as the attendees of ESI London on the October 19th. There will also be a wild card entry via GRID Esports’ DataJam, in partnership with Opera GX and ESI.

Entrants will be given five minutes of time to pitch, which can be presented however the entrant chooses — whether video, slideshow presentation, a mixture of both, or entirely through a speech. This strict 5 minute pitch deadline will be followed by a 10 minute window for the panel to ask questions.

Kartik Arya, Co-Head of HSBC Kinetic, said: “We’re pleased to partner with ESI for The Clutch. This partnership presents a great opportunity to showcase how ambitious businesses of all sizes can open up a world of opportunity with HSBC UK’s expert advice and insight.

“At HSBC UK, we’re supporting esports, video games and creator businesses everyday with HSBC Kinetic – our app-based business account. Kinetic was designed to make business banking simpler and faster, and can help forward-thinking start-ups and small businesses work smarter. I’m very much looking forward to seeing this year’s innovative ideas.”

The judges will score each pitch which will determine the winner, with this announcement falling at the end of ESI London Day 2 on October 20th. The winner will receive the coveted The Clutch trophy, a giant cheque to the tune of £3,000, and the other aforementioned prizes to help support them on their journey as a start-up provided by title partners HSBC UK & EXCEL ESPORTS.

In addition to this, the University of Warwick’s Creative Futures will be providing business mentoring support to help provide growth to their business. Socially will provide one month of community marketing consultancy to not just the winner but all four of the shortlisted finalists.

Mark Carter, Commercial Director at EXCEL ESPORTS, commented: “We’re delighted to be involved in The Clutch this year alongside our partners HSBC. EXCEL’s involvement gives the participants a unique chance to gain esports expertise from those who live and breathe it daily while getting an understanding of what it takes to scale up a business within the esports space. The competition offers a great chance for young businesses to showcase their creativity and innovation, and we’re looking forward to seeing what this year’s contestants have to offer.”

Previous years winners of The Clutch include MouseskinsiTero Gaming, and This year has seen the competition broaden into the video games and adjacent creator economy space; if you are interested in putting forward your company, or your idea, please apply now here.