Can a Los Angeles start-up give video gamers a stylish look?

Though fans may not always notice, professional athletes put thought into their outfits off and on the field.

They’ll choose custom sneakers on the court, fancy jackets at the press conference and color-coordinated headphones in the locker room.

But in e-sports, not so much.

Professional video game players rarely do better than jeans and oversized hoodies. So at its first of several planned ventures to amp up e-sports, a Los Angeles start-up is hoping to give the growing industry a sophisticated look.

Ultimate Media Ventures on Monday launched ULT Kills, a fashion line of T-shirts, hoodies, hats and eventually footwear that, in the words of co-founder Nate Eckman, isn’t the usual “super-embarrassing … kitschy, nerdy gamer wear.”

The Los Angeles-stitched streetwear, priced between $28 and $78, will have woven labels, embroidery, custom printing and generally more attention to detail than the gaming-fashion industry typically sees, Eckman said. It comes in men’s and women’s styles.


There’s no “all-over print, colorful fabric, splash art and big throw-up characters on a shirt that costs $2,” Eckman said. “If people keep designing products for nerds in basements, they are going to keep ending up with that.”

Ultimate Media Ventures is among dozens of small services companies and product makers seeking space in e-sports niches, from analyzing a player’s value to developing fancy chairs for matches. As deep-pocketed investors flock to the booming industry, the start-ups hope to carve out a big business.

In accouterments, Eckman saw extra opportunity because, in his view, established athletics wear giants like Nike are hesitant to enter e-sports because they could catch flak from their traditional sportswear customers. Among many sports fans, playing video games remains anything but a sport. Nike declined to comment.

By the end of the year, Eckman would like to have uniforms on players. The jerseys would be made from multiple undisclosed materials in an effort to make them breathable and sweat-wicking. Uniforms also must stand up to the chill players feel in heavily air-conditioned video studios.

“It’s not going to be a cheap soccer shirt,” Eckman said, adding that there would be matching pants and shorts.

He and his co-founders have been consulting video game publishers on marketing initiatives for several years. They recently decided to combine efforts and raised start-up capital from Dallas firm Cedars Spring Capital. Other projects include developing e-sports-related shows and organizing events on behalf of gaming companies.

Two security software companies get cash

Irvine cybersecurity company Cylance, whose software is meant to predict what a cyberattack might look like and what vulnerability it will exploit, picked up $100 million as it ramps up sales.

Cylance says it has about 1,000 customers but now wants to add many more because its software has achieved initial goals.

The funds from Blackstone Tactical Opportunities, Insight Venture Partners and others add to $77 million the nearly 4-year-old company previously raised. The latest investment values the company at $1 billion, according to reports.

Los Angeles security company Armorway, which got its start with federally funded research at USC, announced a $2.5-million investment from Texas venture capital firm Aristos Ventures and several individuals.

Armorway’s latest software aims to suck in data about employees to identify ones that could pose a threat, potentially because they would try to leak information. The company also offers software that aims to help law enforcement determine the best spots to position officers.

See the most-read stories this hour >>

Elsewhere on the Web

Music manager and venture capitalist Troy Carter, based out of Culver City, is taking a global role at music streaming app Spotify, where he will oversee the company’s relationship with musicians, songwriters and record labels, according to the New York Times.

El Segundo fashion brand JustFab named as chief financial officer Todd Tappin, who held the same role at Rubicon Project and helped the Los Angeles ad technology company go public, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Virtual Reality Co., a Steven Spielberg-backed film studio making content for virtual reality headsets, announced a $23-million investment from Chinese technology company Hengxin Mobile Business, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Google at last has signed a lease for a 319,000-square-feet hangar in Playa Vista, according to the Real Deal.

KTLA spotlights the 11 start-ups in hospital Cedars-Sinai’s health-technology start-up mentorship program.

Brogan BamBrogan, co-founder at Hyperloop One, says the transportation start-up is considering developing an underwater version of the high-speed rail system that has only been seen in above-ground renderings so far, according to Science Friday.

In case you missed it

Upheaval is becoming something of a routine for the investors fueling pro video gaming’s rapid rise. A look at what it means to be an e-sports owner.

Snapchat Inc. downplayed a popular feature in an update as it attempts to better promote less-watched content from the likes of ESPN, BuzzFeed and Cosmo.

Peter Csathy, a digital media executive who has tracked the rise of online video for more than a decade, has launched an advisory and investment company named Creatv.

Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. plans to award $1 million over the next year to top players of its latest “Madden NFL” title.

Airbnb used its annual conference to address the tech world’s present public relations crisis, with panels on building an inclusive company, mitigating bias in hiring and managing and nurturing trust.

Coming up

A Tel Aviv University alumni group hosts a conference on digital media Wednesday and Thursday in Santa Monica, with topics including virtual reality, mental health in the digital age and online distribution strategies.

Twitter: @peard33


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