Project Destiny may come to an end
NEWS | Andreas Hadjipaschali | Counter-Strike | December 27, 2018
Bravado Gaming is more than just an e-sports team or organization. Bravado Gaming falls under the Bravado Universe. This brand has a clear call to action for gamers and enthusiasts all around the world and that is the zero-to-hero story that we try portray in every sense of the phrase. We’re more than just a team, but a way of life. A story that evolves from an e-sports organization to produce and create powerful individuals on their way to the successes of life. This is the Bravado way.
The zero-to-hero story that we’d been working on during the course of 2017, was Project Destiny. Project Destiny would see a team (our CS:GO division) of 6 South African individuals embark on a journey to tell a story to the world by relocating to the United States of America to compete on one of the highest professional e-sports levels in the world.
In February 2018, the dream became a reality and our boys set off for Phoenix, Arizona of which they would live and play in a variety of e-sports qualifiers and leagues from the house. One of the main reasons and security was the invite from ESEA to compete in a season within the Main Division. Now we know that the Main Division isn’t the greatest of them all (being the 3rd best division at the time, and now the 4th) but we knew we’d have to work our way up the ladder while simultaneously competing in a variety of other qualifiers for events and leagues. The staff, management and players of Bravado Gaming were ready to take on a challenge that very few would sacrifice in order to turn a dream into a reality.
FEBRUARY – MARCH 2018
To cut the long story short, the Bravado CS:GO squad moved to Phoenix, Arizona and started competing in the ESEA Main Division while playing a variety of other qualifiers. Eventually, the team went on to win the ESEA Main Division which saw a promotion for the squad into the ESEA MDL League. We found lots of success within ESEA, but nothing yet in the form of other qualifiers and leagues… at least not yet. We knew that our presence in the region was in the early stages of reaching our goal, but this was a start, which would hopefully see fruition come in the form of success.
As time went by, our players slowly but surely proved their worth and potential of which then, all players were invited to play in the FaceIt Pro League while the team slowly but surely started being recognized by a variety of e-sports athletes, personalities and media. One of our highlights here is when we qualified for the ESL Belo Horizonte Closed Qualifier after beating (at the time) the worlds #15 – Team Renegades. During this time we were also just a top 150 team in the world. You can read about the success of our Belo Horizonte progress on HLTV here.
JUNE – JULY 2018
During this period, the squad went on to come out victorious in the ESEA MDL (Mountain Dew League), being one of the only few teams (never-mind being a team outside of the USA) winning back-to-back ESEA Seasons. By this time, the players and team were being recognized even more, making a variety of closed qualifiers and being invited to a couple at the same time. Things really started looking up from every perspective at this point in time.
Within the month of July, the squad had headed back to South Africa for a short player break before heading back to the United States of America to continue competing in the Mountain Dew League. The reason for competing in the MDL again was due to the fact that the previous season was not a promotional one. If it was, the team would be returning back to the USA to compete in the ESL Pro League – the highest possible league in the ESL/ESEA series you can achieve, boasting only the best of the best teams in the world.
While the team headed back to South Africa, our manager and coach, Tiaan T.C Coertzen stayed behind as we initiated a move from Phoenix, Arizona to Austin, Texas. At the time, making this move was a tough one as we were in some financial trouble, and because of this reason we exceeded our budgets and made use of our personal finances in order to make the move a reality. Some may ask why we made the move and I can tell you that there was a variety of reasons (some of which I cannot mention) but all-in-all, we thought the move to Texas would be a much better hub to compete from, as we all know, Texas is booming with investment and opportunity in the e-sports scene.
AUGUST – SEPTEMBER 2018
Our player break was cut short when we received an invite to the Chicago Intel Extreme Masters Closed Qualifier (this is very rare in our situation at the time) and we had no choice in a matter of 2 days to book flights (of which were super expensive and once again, put us into financial troubles for the quarter) to get the guys back to the USA to compete in the event. And off the team went to one of their first major invited closed qualifiers… So much had happened during these months and things were getting stronger and better as we gained more and more popularity, making more and more friends and being recognized and given respect to after making a variety of Closed Qualifiers. More importantly, the teams that we had beaten in these open and closed qualifiers were some of the highest rated in the region, for example: beating teams such as E-UNITED, Renegades, Dignitas, Mythic and various other teams in a variety of these qualifiers. By now, the respect for what we set out to achieve started booming with popularity, especially the support coming from back home!
Every time, we made a closed qualifier, we were just so short of making it to the offline finals, but we kept our heads up, persevered and pushed harder than ever. We knew we couldn’t give up now, regardless of our financial situation or our status in the USA. We couldn’t disappoint.
We continued playing the next MDL League but unfortunately we were knocked out in the playoffs, however, this doesn’t mean that we couldn’t re-enter next season (January 2019) but it just meant that we had to try and win it again to make our way into the ESL Pro League. We also acknowledged that if we were to place in the top 2 of the playoffs, we wouldn’t be able to attend the South Africa WESG (China) qualifiers, as we would be at the MDL LAN during the same dates as the finals.
In the months of November and December, we experienced something and felt something of which the world woke up to. Things happened so fast, to the extent that we just couldn’t keep up with what was going on. The team went on to take part in the prestigious Dreamhack Winter 2018 North American qualifiers, besting their teams in their way and making it to yet, another, closed qualifier. However, things this time were different as we saw a Bravado unleash and explode after months and months of preparation, perseverance and improvement.
The team qualified for the Dreamhack Winter 2018 Closed Qualifier and saw 1 spot being given to the victor after an intense run in the open qualifiers. BOOM, finally, we made it past the closed qualifier besting Pro League Teams (and some of the best teams in the world) such as Luminosity, Rogue and INTZ to finally (AND FINALLY) find a spot at an offline event. We were going to Dreamhack Winter 2018 and the world was astonished at our achievement of making such a prestigious event. The support and perseverance finally paid off, but we weren’t satisfied just yet. While you’re at it, read some of the interviews and stories HLTV conducted on us here and here.
Right after the our qualification into the Dreamhack Winter 2018 main event in Sweden, the boys first came back to South Africa (we had flights booked for them to come back during this time) – simultaneously the WESG South African qualifiers were taking place (stage 1) at this time.
The team went on to play the first stage of the WESG qualifiers, making it into the second stage later on in December and while we were obtaining our VISA’s, things just fell perfectly into place where we could attend Dreamhack Winter 2018 and return to South Africa to complete the WESG qualifiers of which we worked our way into the semi-finals in phase 1. The team took off for Sweden a few days earlier prior to the competition, to make sure that they adjust to jet-lag, the environment and most importantly to boot-camp in Jonkoping. Again, this was an additional and personal expense to get the guys to get as much preparation before entering the Arena at this prestigious event.
Finally the day came and the guys wouldn’t know what to expect as they were placed in the group of death alongside some very, very strong names. The competition began, the amount of negative comments from both professionals and trolls of how we would be dominated started. We didn’t care and knew that we were there to do the very best that we could, but most importantly to add value to the story we’ve been trying to build for so long. We went into the group stage with nothing to lose, but what I can tell you is that we entered with confidence and hunger to prove the negatives, wrong.
As I write this, I notice my body fills up with goosebumps as every part of every game had a story within itself. The Bravado Gaming CS:GO squad went on to top their group at the prestigious event by beating the likes of Optic Gaming and then G2 Esports – names, players and organizations who live within the millions of followers, within the best teams in the world – but we were there to show that the giants could be taken down. What a moment for e-sports. What a moment for Bravado Gaming. What a moment for the story to be told. Read more about this here.
After besting Optic Gaming and G2 Esports and topping our group we progressed to the semi-finals of the event, up against the home team of X6tence. Although our support was limited in the crowd, fans were cheering us on, online, in the chats, on websites, through media, messages and posts and we knew that this was do-or-die time. If there was ever a time to make a point, it was now. Bravado went on to beat the home squad and earning ourselves in the GRAND FINALS of the Dreamhack Winter 2018 event, going up against the strong ENCE. Read more about this victory here.
Although we didn’t manage to best ENCE, falling to them in the Grand Finals and placing 2nd at the main event, we knew that this was a start to something massive. We knew that this would open eyes and turn heads to the point where a certain belief from the powers of above would recognize the potential and of course, the story. We ended up 2nd at Dreamhack Winter 2018 – an event that no-one would have expected us to do well in – never mind actually making it to the event.
After the completion of Dreamhack, the team returned back to South Africa to complete the 2nd stage of the WESG finals of which the victor would gain entrance into the main event in 2019 of which was taking place in China with a massive and staggering prize pool. The team went on to win the qualifier, securing their spot after an intense few days of rest, just returning back from Sweden but it doesn’t stop there… While the team was in-flight back to South Africa to play the final stage of the WESG qualifiers, we received an e-mail from Dreamhack India, personally inviting the squad to play at their main event invitational and without any doubt, we’re in no position right now to deny such massive invites. We accepted. Read more about this here.
Dreamhack Winter, Dreamhack India, WESG – it all got so overwhelming (but that good type of overwhelming)– all this craziness in matter of weeks didn’t end there. Immediately after the team won the WESG qualifiers in South Africa, off they went back to their house in Austin, Texas on Monday the 10th of December. Why? Because they had qualified for the ESL Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice Minor Closed Qualifiers. They had to play the day after they arrived in the USA, completely jet-lagged once again and suffering with flu from all the change of weather. The team got their days rest and got ready to urgently compete in the closed qualifier they made previously. This was so important because how it works is that if they qualified for the Minor in Poland (Katowice) then they would stand a chance to compete for the Major and let me tell you this: This will be the biggest Major (according to various sources) for CS:GO to date.
Tired with flu and jet-lagged the team played their first match-up on December the 12th and unfortunately losing their first match-up, dropping down into the losers bracket. We can’t imagine that this would be easy based on the circumstances we went through in the past couple of weeks. They got up, they fought hard and the boys pushed through the loser bracket beating Luminosity (once again, with a much stronger line-up), Singularity and finally Test Takers to secure themselves a spot at the ESL Intel Extreme Masters Minor Main Event to take place in early January 2019 in Katowice, Poland. Read more about this here.
Coming back to the Dreamhack India: To cut the long story short, the team made way to Mumbai, India where they competed in the Dreamhack India 2018 Invitational securing 1st spot, winning the tournament and making waves throughout a region we’ve never competed in. You can read more about our success at Dreamhack India by heading over to HLTV.ORG here.
In a matter of weeks we came 2nd at Dreamhack Winter Sweden, won the South African WESG Qualifiers for China, won the Dreamhack India Invitational and made it into the IEM Katowice Minor. Finally, we started seeing some light and our new and old fans started to cheer for the success of the team, making hype through micro and mass media. Telling that story that we started. Throughout the months we’ve achieved a-lot, through the highs and the low’s and through times of tears and times of happiness, but what matters is this: The future is bright and this team of individuals have proven and more importantly, worked SO HARD to show what you can create from nothing.
PROJECT DESTINY MAY COME TO AN END
Throughout our highs and lows and our recent achievements, we’ve been working so hard (behind closed doors) the entire year to ensure that the success of the team goes unnoticed to potential corporates, investors and brands. During this time we’ve been in chats and negotiations with multiple companies (endemic and non-endemic) in order to secure additional funding to ensure that there is no risk of ending this story anytime soon as having to pay for Travel, Rent, Utilities, Allowances, Food, Vehicle, VISA’s (and more) has been super costly. In addition, we’ve been working on acquiring O1/P1 Sporting VISA’s for the players, however, we haven’t been able to achieve this goal (as we cannot establish a sponsorship in the USA) which gives threat to our players each and every-time they enter the USA.
As an organization, we’ve entered into much debt, pushing hard and strong day-by-day, month-by-month to make sure that we can keep our dream alive of becoming one of the best e-sports call-to-actions the world has seen. Sacrifices have been made by Bravado Gaming as well as the players and directors of the organization, and due to the lack of additional funding and increased debt to support the players in the USA (which also affects the acquiring of P1/O1 VISA’s) we’ve had no choice but to make the call and bring the Bravado Gaming CS:GO squad back to South Africa at the end of January 2019 after the Katowice Minor. During now and then we will keep pushing as hard as we can to ensure that somehow, someway, we may find more finance which will keep this dream alive, allowing the zero-to-hero story continue and keep inspiring gamers throughout the world. Whether it be in the form of our appearances, the content we create, the branding we offer, the campaigns we create – we’ll try our very and utmost best to make things happen, once more.
For the time being, the call has been made to return the players back to South Africa and even if we can’t find a solution to keeping them in the United States of America between now and then, we’ll continue working on sending them back in the near future once we have eliminated our debt and found a solid and suitable solution for future sustainability for the sake of Project Destiny and all the players of Bravado Gaming (PTY) LTD.
Our options right now include the following:
– Bring back the team to South Africa for a period of 2-3 months until we can re-balance our books, organize proper VISA’s and potentially work towards finding additional investment, where thereafter, if all successful the players return back to the USA or move to Europe to play competitively for a long-term period. The problem with this option is that the guys will lose out on leagues, placements, practice, ranking and a variety of qualifiers and seems to be an option that the players are not willing to take.
– Find additional funding for a 3 month period (February, March & April) in which this time we can re-balance our books, continue working towards finding additional sponsors in South Africa / USA and work towards obtaining O1/P1 VISA’s and then extending their stay past those 3 months to play for a long-term period in the USA. The problem with this option is that we don’t know how we would find the additional funding during the quarter and if we do, within those 3 months we have to find additional partners or sponsors to make sure the guys can become sustained in the USA and obtain their O1/P1 VISA’s.
– Find additional funding and sponsorship between now and January, working towards obtaining O1/P1 VISA’s while in the USA and continue the project. The problem with this option is that finding an additional partner / sponsor (especially in the USA, which will make obtaining our O1/P1 VISA’s easier) is that we’re already at the end of December.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Based on one of the options of finding additional funding for a period of 3 months (February, March & April) we’ve gone ahead and created a fund-raising campaign on Indiegogo in order to try raise these funds for this period. By raising these funds for this period, this will give us an additional 3 months to try and make things work by finding additional funding for the period beyond the quarter specified and in hope, apply for our P1/O1 VISA’s simultaneously.
We have never considered the thought of asking the public for help, but unfortunately we’ve been left with no option but to do so. With that being said, we’ve set our Indiegogo campaign goal to $30,000 (which is a little less than required to pay for all the expenses throughout the quarter) and we’ve chosen the option of ‘Fixed Funding’ – which according to Indiegogo, backers will receive their money back if the project doesn’t meet it’s goal – you can read more about this here.
With the above being said, we can only say this: We would appreciate any help with regards to obtaining our funding goal from anyone and anywhere. The money will go to a good cause to ensure that we can continue paying the rent, utilities, food, subscriptions, internet, vehicle, gas, and any other associated costs to keep these 6 individuals in Austin, Texas to compete further for another 3 months.
We would appreciate if you could spread the word (motar2k 😀) in helping us make this campaign a success. You can head over to our campaign page here. Alternatively we’ve embedded it to this article below.
Based on the above, we don’t have many more options than we’ve listed and if Bravado Gaming cannot support any of the above and/or if the players are not happy with any of the above, we will have no choice but to release the team from their contracts, for the sake of the players and Bravado Gaming’s future which may also see a full South African roster disband depending on which route the team/players take for the future. As much as we hate to see any of this happen, this is the reality of it and we only hope we can gain the support of fans/families/friends/brands/corporates/individuals to make sure that none of this may end as indicated previously.
As mentioned previously, any help and support of any interested parties wanting to partner up with Bravado Gaming, please, please do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail here. Alternatively, please do not hesitate to add Vasili Girasis (CBDO of Bravado Gaming) or myself on Linked IN here and here as we can make a variety of Decks, POE’s, ROI’s and offerings available through our interactive documents and reports. Spread the word and help us find our feet to ensuring the continued success of what has taken us so many years to build!
We cannot express how grateful we are for being given this opportunity from our partners and sponsors and for all the support that we’ve received from our fellow South Africans, our new friends in the USA and people across the globe. The future is bright and they say, where there is a will, there is a way and this is why we won’t give up in becoming one of the best e-sports teams and brands in the world, of which one was established on the continent of Africa.
Again, on behalf of Bravado Gaming, its players, staff and management we thank you for all your support and your continued support. We can only now hope that we’ve made a good enough impression to partnering with additional sponsors and/or finding private investors. – Andreas Hadjipaschali, CEO of Bravado Gaming (PTY) LTD
Project Destiny may come to an end.
— Bravado Gaming (@bravadogaming) December 27, 2018
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We thought we’d add some potential Questions & Answers that you may seek for further clarification below:
Who is Bravado Gaming?
Bravado Gaming is Africa’s premiere e-sports organization and gaming lifestyle brand serving home to some of the best players on the continent.
What is Project Destiny?
Project Destiny is an initiative by Bravado Gaming relocating their CS:GO team to the USA in order to compete at a higher level among the best players and teams in the world.
Why did you move the team to the USA?
Unfortunately in South Africa we are strapped for proper practice, qualifiers and events. Our mission was to make an impression (and we believe we have) that anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it, persevere and stay consistent to gain success. This is the Bravado way.
What is the funding going to be used for?
The funding indicated on this campaign will be used to keep the team in the USA while they continue to play events and qualifiers for the period of February, March and April. The costs include our house rent, house utilities, food, small player allowances, our vehicle, gas, flights back to South Africa at the end of April (if need be), content and marketing costs, internet and subscriptions, food and grocery allowance and a few other costs required to maintain the team. No salaries included.
What happens during and after the next quarter?
An additional 3 months in the USA will help us seek and find additional partner and sponsor funding and give us more time to acquire our O1/P1 VISA’s so that we can create a longer-term situation of allowing the guys to compete professionally in the USA.
What events have you already qualified for, for 2019?
We’ve qualified for the ESL Intel Extreme Masters (Americas Minor) which will be taking place in Katowice, Poland towards the end of January + the WESG global finals in China which will happen in March and currently playing in the ESEA MDL League (among other events we aim to qualify for during the quarter) – keeping the team in the USA to gain enough practice for these events is very important.
How many players exist in the Bravado CS:GO team and how long do they practice for?
Our CS:GO team consists of a total of 6 individuals (5 core players and 1 manager/coach). This team is HIGHLY motivated and dedicated and they practice almost every day, as a team for around 8-9 hours when not playing events and qualifiers.
Where does the team stay?
Initially the team stayed in Phoenix, Arizona. Due to investment opportunities and the upcoming tech industry, we decided to make the move from Phoenix, Arizona to Austin, Texas with the hopes of being in a more centralized e-sports location.
How long has Bravado Gaming existed for and how long has the CS:GO team been together for?
Bravado Gaming, the organization was created and founded in 2006. Since then we’ve pushed hard, year on year to make our mark on this planet as a clear and enthusiastic e-sports call-to-action. This specific CS:GO team has been together since the beginning of 2017 which almost makes it 2 years old – together they have grown from strength-to-strength through all the challenges we’ve faced. You can check out their player profiles here.
*FUNDRAISER STREAM FROM FALLEN
On the 10th of January 2019 at 21h30 CET, Gabriel ‘FalleN’ Toledo will be hosting a fundraiser stream for #projectdestiny. On behalf of Bravado Gaming, we once again thank you Gabriel (along with everyone else who has helped).You can tune in at 21h30 CET at www.twitch.tv/gafallen as he goes LIVE then. Currently, our crowd funding for Project Destiny is sitting at a 31% goal with less than 2 weeks remaining.
Check the direct tweet from Fallen here: https://twitter.com/FalleNCS/status/1082371883079819264. Thanking each and every one of you, once again for all the exposure and support that you have given us! #bvdgaming #bringthebravado
We want to thank everyone who has spread the word and contributed towards the cause of Project Destiny on our crowd-funding campaign. With that being said, we want to include daily updates and a link of individuals who have currently contributed to the project by including their names below!
December 28 2018
Amount Raised: $3904 (13% of goal)
View backers here
December 29 2018
Amount Raised: $5929 (19% of goal)
View backers here
December 30 2018
Amount Raised: $6201 (20% of goal)
View backers here
December 31 2018
Amount Raised: $6216 (21% of goal)
View backers here
January 01 2019
Amount Raised: $6216 (21% of goal)
View backers here
January 03 2019
Amount Raised: $6663 (22% of goal)
View backers here
January 04 2019
Amount Raised: $8452 (28% of goal)
View backers here
January 06 2019
Amount Raised: $8810 (29% of goal)
View backers here
January 10 2019
Amount Raised: $9715 (32% of goal)
View backers here
January 13 2019
Amount Raised: $14278(47% of goal)
View backers here
January 18 2019
Amount Raised: $16209(54% of goal)
View backers here
January 24 2019
Amount Raised: $18200(60% of goal)
View backers here
* Please note that if we do not reach the fixed goal campaign, a corporate sponsor will be covering the deficit for the organization to continue for another 3 months.
January 26 2019
* Campaign is cancelled and all backers will be refunded
You can read more of why the campaign was cancelled and all backers have been refunded here (coming soon).
Indiegogo: On the 31st of January 2019 the campaign will not reach it’s fixed-goal and therefore all backers will be refunded directly from Indiegogo. According to Indiegogo, backers will receive their contributions back into the accounts from which they donated within as stated by Indiegogo as follows: “The backer will be refunded through Indiegogo to their credit or debit card. All applicable fees for the transaction will also be refunded, and there’s no further action needed on your part”
Indiegogo has also stated that all backers will be refunded between 5-7 business working days from the day that the campaign ends (31 January 2019) which you can read about here. Please also make sure that you check your e-mails for your contribution refunds (make sure you check the junk folder too).
apeX’s Stream: apeX gladly held a stream to raise funds for the Indiegogo campaign. From there he made a PayPal transfer to the Bravado Gaming (Andreas) PayPal account of which we then withdrew into our bank account (because you can’t contribute into Indiegogo through PayPal) and then from there we deposited the funds into Indiegogo. We have already requested a refund for these funds of which will reflect into our bank account and then a PayPal transfer will be made back to apeX.
FalleN, S0m & other streamers: The same scenario applies as above, although these funds reflected into our CS:GO managers PayPal account. The reversal will be made into his PayPal account and from there he will refund the donors of which he received through PayPal, through the streams.