100 Thieves CEO and founder Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag has responded to the backlash he and the company have faced after a recent wave of layoffs, with former employees speaking out against issues within the organization and questioning a shifting focus towards other 100 Thieves-owned businesses, such as Juvee and Higround.
100 Thieves was founded in 2017 and almost instantly became one of the most recognizable brands in esports. In addition to an LCS team that went to Worlds in its first year, 100 Thieves also quickly found success in other games, such as Fortnite and Call of Duty.
They’re now competing with, and often usurping, brands that have been in the space for far longer, through a mixture of their esports success, their content arm, and other businesses, like drinks company Juvee and hardware creators Higround.
In January, however, 100T announced a round of layoffs affecting a number of staff members, including Chief Revenue Officer Matty Lee and a number of editing and VFX staff.
Addressing criticism of launching Juvee
In a podcast episode several weeks later, Nadeshot opened up about the report that came out from Digiday in the aftermath of the layoffs, explaining how he disliked having to take that course of action and why criticism over the creation of Juvee, for example, is not all correct.
“The toughest part about 100 Thieves is balancing all the things that we’re doing,” he admitted. “This article came out a couple of weeks ago, a lot of people are questioning, even former employees like, ‘Why the f**k did you guys start Juvee? That’s stupid.’
“When we first started raising money with 100 Thieves, and you’re trying to raise capital to keep your business alive, the only thing investors at that time were asking about was… ‘Are you doubling revenue year-over-year? How much money are you making? How are we going to grow that? How are we going to be a billion-dollar business one day?’
“Esports as a whole hasn’t been monetized to the level a lot of outside investors expected. But 100 Thieves, as a brand, always viewed it as, ‘This can push everything that we want to do forward.’
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“I know it’s a super competitive market, but we have this road in the gaming community, where we know people are going to try it, so let’s build a brand that doesn’t have any ties to the gaming community and do something bigger than what we do with Higround, that is just endemically gaming and esports.”
Nadeshot reveals regret over layoffs
That wasn’t all, though, as Nadeshot went on to discuss how bad he felt about the layoffs and what went down, including how the global health crisis affected brands wanting to work with 100 Thieves and their ability to bring in revenue.
He said: “Because of the tough decisions that we made, which I’ll have regret for the rest of my life, and I’m not saying that to have you think of me any better, we had to make tough decisions for the betterment of the company and the duty that we have to ourselves, to our board and investors who put money into this.
“The company’s in a great place. We set expectations, we had the hard conversations, and we made changes, and I’ve never been more excited for the future of 100 Thieves, that’s God’s honest truth.”
He went on to add that he’d “rather be buried six feet under than do it again,” but clarified again that he knows full well his situation is nowhere near as bad as that of the people who have lost their jobs.
As well as Juvee and Higround, 100 Thieves are working on a video game that has not yet been named, known only as Project X.