Chess.com Gets Major Investment – Chess.com

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Dear Chess.com Community,

Today Chess.com is announcing something big, and yet also inconsequential: one of the world’s top “growth equity” firms, General Atlantic, has made a major investment in Chess.com. This transaction happened on Dec 31. We’re keeping the financial details private, but I wanted to speak to you directly about what this means for chess.

First off, nothing is going to change. I am still CEO. Everyone at the company is staying. Nobody from the outside is joining our team. We will remain an independently operated company. All of the same people still work for Chess.com. Our goal and mission are the same. Nothing about how we operate today is going to change. Our leadership team will still lead. Our product team will still design the product. Our engineers will still build and scale the product. Our content team will still make the same content. Our support team will still support the same members.

General Atlantic is a great investment firm that believes in mission-driven, community-focused companies like Chess.com. They are large investors in Duolingo. They invested in Slack, Snap, TikTok, AirBNB, Adyen, and many others. We consider it an honor to be on that list! We feel that they have the right balance of being hands-on to help us navigate these new, large waters, and yet hands-off enough to not mess with what we do best: mission, culture, team, and chess! 

Why are we doing this? One big reason: growth. A lot more people are playing, watching, and enjoying chess than ever before, and we know it can get bigger still. Our mission is to grow the game of chess! And as we do, we will be facing new opportunities and challenges, and having investors who have shepherded so many great companies along the path will give us the counsel we need to thrive as we share chess with the world. 

So what does this mean for us, the chess community? This is about bringing the game to new people and new places, and about doing the things we always wanted to do. We believe that our new partner will help us learn the things we don’t know and reach a broader audience in new ways. We firmly believe they will take nothing away, and will add a ton to make our company better and bring chess to more people. 

We have been extremely careful in choosing who to join our family. From the beginning, the General Atlantic team shared their reverence for the game of chess and our mission, and their reputation for helping companies while not negatively impacting them backs it up. We now have an amazing partner on our side to help us keep doing all the things we’ve been doing, but on a bigger stage: making the best possible chess platform, running amazing events like Speed Chess Championships and Pogchamps, pushing chess memes into your feeds, promoting tournaments, explaining what en passant means, etc. Chess.com is our life and our passion. I hope you will continue to trust me as we bring chess to more of the world. 

Best, 

Erik

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