Irishman’s social network acquired by e-sports giant XSplit

14 Jul 2016

While the Dublin start-up scene was heating up, Sean Fee went to Asia. Now his start-up has been acquired by SplitmediaLabs

In 2013, when Dublin’s start-up scene was beginning to take off, Sean Fee took a different approach and chose a small island off Thailand to start The gambit worked, and the social discovery platform for gamers has just been acquired by XSplit developer SplitmediaLabs for an undisclosed sum.

We interviewed Fee two years ago while he was enjoying a self-imposed exile on Ko Samui, an island off the east coast of Thailand., a social community for gamers, won the support of renowned gamers like StarCraft legend Sean ‘Day9’ Plott quite early in its existence.

Future Human

Sean Fee started out in investment banking with Davy Corporate Finance before co-founding his first startup, iFoods, with Niall Harbison, formerly of Simply Zesty and now publisher of the Lovin Dublin Group.

Today (14 June), it emerged that Fee’s hard work has paid off and is being acquired by SplitmediaLabs, the Hong Kong-based maker of the live-streaming software platforms Gamecaster and Xsplit Broadcaster. is being acquired along with e-sports tournament management provider Challonge as part of SplitmediaLabs’ $10m investment strategy to create a platform that connects the entire gaming community.

The combined entity will have more than 8m registered users, 2m unique monthly visitors and 90,000-plus tournaments created each month.

The exile’s return


The Player.Me founding team Jamil Velji, Mak Sok and Sean Fee

“We exited a little sooner than we expected or hoped but this deal just made complete sense to us,” Fee told is a social community for gamers and discovery platform that helps content creators grow their channels, discover like-minded players and find new games they love.

It boasts 1m-plus activities on the platform per month, has a rapidly-growing user base that includes high-profile stars like Moosnuckel and Caveman Films, and last month launched its iPhone and Android apps.

Challonge has been focusing on refining the core of its system for creating tournament brackets and is already used for large scale e-sports events such as the Capcom Pro Tour, a series of Blizzard tournaments including the WCS World League in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and Red Bull Kumite 2016.

“Both products deliver a best-in-class experience in their respective areas. To date, we’ve been mainly focused on maintaining leadership and driving organic growth of XSplit, but these acquisitions will move us into the realm of providing more services for the gaming community as part of a grander vision,” said Henrik Levring, CEO of SplitmediaLabs.

“There has been tremendous growth in our particular space recently, but very little coming out is truly different,” added Levring.

“We’re going to shake things up a bit over the next few years, by making streaming opportunities as accessible and rewarding as possible for all, from individual players and content creators to e-sports entrepreneurs and publishers. We’ll have more to reveal about these plans soon,” Levring said.

Gamer image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years