Making it in Esports: Excel Esports Co-Founder, Kieran Holmes-Darby On Owning an Esports Team

This article is part of Gamer One’s new Making it in Esports series which interviews top industry team owners to learn more about their journey and to share the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

The following is a recent interview we had with Kieran Holmes-Darby, Co-Founder & CGO of Excel Esports.

Kieran Holmes-Darby1. What was your journey like that eventually led to owning your own team?

KH: My brother and I have always played video games casually growing up and as competitive people, we got interested in low level esports. Once we realised that we were never going to make it as professional players, we decided over a conversation in a pub over a pint that perhaps starting our own esports team would be an exciting project. We saw there was a real gap in the UK esports market for a team to professionalise the industry and provide a place where passionate people like ourselves could make a living doing what they love.

2. What’s an average workday look like for you?

KH: I have a lot of meetings getting involved with projects in all areas of the company (esports, commercial, marketing and operations). Most of my work today looks at building out our strategy towards the esports side of our business and assessing potential expansion projects.

3. What’s the most challenging part about owning your own team?

KH: The toughest parts about being a Co-Founder in a growing team are two-fold: firstly it’s extremely frustrating to have a large part of the successes of your company being based on competitive results that you have no control over (i.e. winning esports matches); secondly, as the company grows and evolves you need to continue to hire people around you that are better than you at certain aspects of the business and delegate control to those individuals which can be tough to relinquish that level of control over your baby!

4. What advice would you have for aspiring professional gamers?

KH: Stay in school, keep fit and healthy and play as much as you can outside of that. Be mindful that esports can be your passion and doesn’t have to be your life! However, if you have a shot, get some like-minded individuals together in a team who are of a similar level and start playing in every tournament you can find to see where you stack up.

5. What excites you most about the future of the esports industry?

KH: The fact that we haven’t even got started yet. We’ve got so much to do on all sides of the business and I think in this rapidly changing industry, new ways of engaging with our community are going to crop up and we will be in a state of adapt or die. It’s not necessarily the unknown that is exciting but its how dynamic the industry is and where we can go with our brand.

James Clarke

Co-founder of Gamer One