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Nicolas Maurer and ten years of Vitality: “We have gone further and faster than we hoped”

Nicolas, Vitality has entered its 11th year of existence.

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Nicolas Maurer and ten years of Vitality: “We have gone further and faster than we hoped”

Nicolas, Vitality has entered its 11th year of existence. What is your assessment of this first decade?Nicolas Maurer: The first and most important point is that we have succeeded in our objective, namely to make Vitality a major esports club. Ten years later, there is no doubt that we got there. Vitality is today one of the biggest clubs in the world. It’s an incredible achievement and an incredible journey. The second point concerns the evolution of esports as an industry and ecosystem. It grew incredibly. The environment has become impressively professional. This no longer has anything to do with the situation we experienced ten years ago when we launched with “Neo” (Fabien Devide, the co-founder of Vitality). And it continues to grow from year to year.

When you started with Fabien Devide, did you imagine such a success? As it happens, we have gone further than our ambitions, and above all much faster than we thought. For esports in general already. In 2013, we felt this passion but it had not yet materialized in terms of business and scale. And for Vitality too. We left with three cents in our pocket and very quickly, we managed to establish ourselves as the best French club. Much faster than we hoped. Overall, it exceeded the expectations we had at the beginning.

Has it been ten years of continuous ascent or have you had to overcome strong difficulties, great doubts? It has not been linear and continuous at all. I imagine that this is the law of entrepreneurship which is made up of ups and downs and ups and downs. And I think it's even more significant in esports, which is a world where everything can change in the blink of an eye. So yes, there were ups and downs, with key moments. Before we carried out our first lifts, it was very complicated financially. There were plenty of moments where we wondered if we were going to finish the current year. There were pivotal moments, like going to League of Legends (LOL) in 2015-2016, which completely changed dimensions for us. And then in continuity, at the end of 2018, we secured our huge fundraising of 20 million euros while integrating the LEC (a sort of Champions League on the game LOL), a closed league. If we had not been accepted, we would have been immediately downgraded and the rest of the story would have been different. Without this acceptance, the fundraising would not have taken place. Everything happened at the same time, with all the doubts necessarily linked to the importance of the moment.

Also read: Fabien Devide: “E-sport puts everyone on a magnificent equal footing”

On a personal level, you launched Vitality with Fabien “Neo” Devide. Have there also been ups and downs between you? That's a good question, since he's in the next room, maybe he'll hear me (laughs). Taking a step back, I can tell you that we are still as united as ever. We have an operation that works very well. Afterwards, on a daily basis, there are permanent ups and downs, constant disagreements, but also countless very healthy discussions between us. I think part of our success is that we are able to question ourselves. We are capable of listening to each other, and that is fortunate. Now, if we take a step back, I can only be satisfied with our relationship and where it has taken us. I’m always super happy to work with “Néo” and everything is going well.

In your eyes, is the best moment of these ten years the success during the Major organized in Paris in 2023 on the game Counter Strike: Global Offensive? Yes, very clearly. It was one of the biggest titles in the world of esports. It was our first Major title, at the AccorArena in Paris in front of all our fans, with the best player in the world in this game, Zywoo… Everything was perfect, like a dream. Now we want to relive this type of moment.

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