Cole Gurman (top left photo) is a young member of the local Jewish community on the cutting edge of the worldwide craze for esports. It is not every day you meet up with a 24 year old CEO, but that is the well-deserved title he holds with H4X(pronounced “HACKS), a leading street wear and high-quality performance apparel brand for esports athletes and enthusiasts across the globe.
The son of clothing magnate Jon Wayne Gurman, Cole had a vision. “Every kid in the planet plays video games,” Cole said. “Not every kid plays hockey, baseball, football or soccer.”
As Cole started to follow competitive esports, he noticed that none of the players had uniforms. “They were in jeans and sweatpants, nothing matched,” he said. “It looked sloppy. We came up with the idea of building a brand endemic with esports. H4X (www.h4x.gg) changed the look of the game!”
Everything Cole had been striving for came to fruition on September 17 with the first H4X Athlete Summit. A spanking new innovation lab made its official debut. Located in the Montreal borough of St. Laurent, it was built to host pro gamers and teams to train for competitive tournaments and It features state of the art pc’s, peripherals, a decked out stream room, as well as custom designed esports chairs to provide best-in-class comfort.
“Our mission is focused on enhancing players’ game play and bring their ability to the next level. From the spectrum of innovative apparel to increasing cognitive bandwidth with new technologies – supporting gamers comes first,” said Cole. “We have kinesiologists working hand in hand with our roster of players, monitoring their game play and their reaction time. This really helps drive product innovation and development.”
Israeli Esports Superstar
Recently Cole welcomed an esports superstar from Israel to the Montreal innovation lab in Tal Aizik (pictured top right), better known as “Fly.” He is an Israeli professional Dota 2 (a multi-performer video game) player who currently plays for the Evil Geniuses team in Seattle and is the co-founder of esports team OG. Aizik won four Dota Major Championships with team OG. He is the son of Krav Maga (a military self-defence and fighting system developed for the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli security forces) instructor Moni Aizik. Tal has done instructor courses and has an active interest in Krav Maga himself. He says that if he weren’t a professional Dota 2 player, he would be a Krav Maga teacher
“A big shout out to H4X,” says Tal. “It has the right product and vision for me. They do an amazing job.”
Israel hosted its first esports tournament in 2017 in Tel Aviv. Game in Pro had all the trappings of a major esports event, with over 5,000 gamers in attendance and the support of partners such as Microsoft, Xbox and Lenovo.Ido Brosh, president of the non-profit Israeli Esports Association established in 2010, believes the sport will continue to grow in Israel.
He says that “many investors interested in the tech side have entered the space, which has raised the sport’s overall profile” and that from the business side “more fans are being drawn to the sport, and the amount of money they are spending is increasing.”
Esports could be part of the 2021 Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv.
Intel has announced the Intel World Open, an esports tournament that will take place on the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Israel representation is likely.
A Young CEO
As one of the youngest CEOs in the esports industry, Cole brings a financial background and “millennial mindset” to the apparel brand, with an emphasis on improving player performance. “As a musician I was very into fashion and with my father being who he is, I was pretty much de facto merchandiser at a young age,” Cole said. “Esports is a young space. I think it’s to your advantage, having a millennial mindset behind you, especially if you’re trying to build a brand that derives inspiration from gaming and pop culture. I believe that played a critical role as to why I was appointed CEO by the board of directors that consists of major European co-founding partners and investors. There were many moving variables that attributed to my new role, and the synergy between my eye for fashion and field of study certainly carried weight.”
The signature piece of the collection is the H4X Reflective Jacket, emblematic of the innovation built throughout the assortment. Constructed of performance material to keep you dry and comfortable; seams are sealed to provide protection against rain and wind, the zippers are sealed with a durable rubber print and the toggles are performance rubber to allow for ease of use. The H4X logo in a 3m reflective print provides a bold statement and high visibility.
H4X, a division of Moniker Inc., was founded in 2016 and it is already considered among the world’s leading esport high performance athletic apparel companies. The company creates performance centric designs rooted in the DNA of gaming culture fused with authentic lifestyle aesthetics. H4X was founded with the intention of creating high performance, technical esports apparel when none existed. Cole and his team are building more than an apparel company. They are building a movement towards a new way of bringing innovative apparel to esports and gaming alike.
Cole attended the John Molson School of Business in Montreal, has a financial, fashion and performing arts background and knows a lot about esports. He was clearly the perfect fit for this role.
“Building a worldwide brand is very expensive,” Cole explained. “This one we started from scratch. It was a venture capital project, with private equity. In order to do a brand like this you have to raise capital? We needed to get investors who believed in our vision.”