Ashton Kutcher And Mark Cuban Invest In Rahul Sood's eSports Gambling Startup Unikrn

When a celebrity like Ashton Kutcher says he wants to invest in your startup, you let him. That's a good way to get your startup's name on the map, so it was a no-brainer for Unkrn co-founder Rahul Sood of Voodoo PC fame to make room for the former Two and a Half Men star, who joins Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank personality Mark Cuban.

This is a dream team cast of participants and it starts with Sood. You won't find an article about Sood in People magazine, though if you've been around the tech scene for any period of time, his is a name you've likely encountered on more than one occasion, starting with Voodoo PC, the once popular boutique system builder that was acquired by HP in 2006.

Rahul Sood

Sood spent some time at HP before leaving to join Microsoft at the end of 2010. That lasted until 2014 when he left Microsoft to co-found Unikrn with Karl Flores, both of which are esports enthusiasts.

The idea behind Unikrn is to tap into the fast growing eSports market and allow users to wager on matches in games like League of Legends, Counter Strike Global Offensive, Dota 2, and other titles. Gambling on esports is not (yet) legal in the U.S., though it is in other parts of the world.

It's a concept with huge potential. According to Riot Games, the 2014 League of Legends World Championship attracted 27 million viewers. To put that number in perspective, Game 7 of the 2014 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals drew 23.5 million viewers, while 18 million people watched the deciding game between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat in the NBA Finals that year, according to ESPN.

Ashton Kutcher

The esports category is legitimate, hence why it's attracting celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Mark Cuban.

"I’ve had the pleasure of investing and being involved in a number of outstanding startups, and Unikrn stood out because they are completely changing how people engage with esports," said Kutcher in a statement. "Esports are mainstreaming, and Unikrn Arena provides fans with an additional level of excitement not found elsewhere."

Along with Guy Oseary, Kutcher's investment in Unikrn comes through their Sound Ventures Investment firm. They've also thrown money at Airbnb, Foursquare, Skype, SoundCloud, Square, Zenefits, and Uber.