Dream Sports, the parent company of popular fantasy sports platform and IPL title sponsor Dream11, has acquired artificial intelligence (AI)-backed fantasy sports startup FanDuniya. The acquisition has happened through Dream Sport subsidiary FanCode.
A source close to the development told Inc42 that the acquisition happened this month. After the acquisition, FanDuniya founder Ramkumar Venkatasubramanian and cofounder Viswanath Kommalapati have both joined FanCode, as indicated on their respective LinkedIn profiles.
FanCode was launched by Dream Sports in March 2019 as a personalised ad-free multi-sport aggregator offering news, live match scores, research-based insights, fantasy sports statistics, expert fantasy tips, game analysis, and access to engage with other sports fans.
FanDuniya’s website is currently inaccessible, which suggests that it may be merging with FanCode’s platform. FanDuniya’s mobile app has also been taken down from the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. The amount for the acquisition could not be ascertained.
Dream11 and FanDuniya representatives didn’t reply to Inc42’s queries by the time of publication.
It is worth noting that both companies are collaborating this year during the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), with videos by a YouTube channel titled “Dream11 Expert Predictions by FanDuniya” being released ahead of IPL matches.
Founded in 2018 by Venkatasubramanian, FanDuniya provided its users, who were fantasy cricket players, with the widest news coverage, statistical tools and AI-driven models to help them make informed decisions for a fantasy cricket match.
Founded in 2008 by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Seth, Dream11, which became the title sponsor for the Indian Premier League this year, is the most notable startup in India’s burgeoning fantasy sports ecosystem. It is also the only Indian gaming startup to have attained unicorn status (startups with a valuation of $1 Bn). Dream11 claims to have more than 9 Cr users on its platform, playing fantasy cricket, football, kabaddi, basketball, hockey, volleyball, American football, baseball and handball. The company is flush with funds and is looking to ramp up its offerings through a slew of acquisitions.
Dream11 last raised $225 Mn from Chrys Capital, Footpath Ventures, Tiger Global Management and TPG in September. Before that, it had raised $60 Mn from Hong Kong-based alternative asset management firm Steadview Capital in 2019. In 2018, it raised $100 Mn from Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent Global.
Fantasy Sports On The Rise In India
Indian online fantasy sports platforms have witnessed a surge in users in the last three to four years, says a report by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), of which Dream11 is a founding member.
The segment’s user base has grown exponentially in the last three years, from 20 lakhs in 2016 to 9 Cr users in 2019, registering a 4,400% increase. Further, the number of users for online fantasy sports is expected to reach 10 Cr by the end of this year. This has also led to a surge in revenue for the sector, from INR 920 Cr in 2018-19 (FY19) to INR 2,400 Cr in FY20, a 160% increase in revenue.
This also led to an increase in GST collections from the sector, to the tune of INR 445 Cr in FY20, a 2.6x increase from the INR 166 Cr collected in FY19. Indian fantasy sports industry is growing at a CAGR of 32% and its worth is expected to be $3.7 Bn by the year-end 2024.
Fantasy sports are held to be skill-based digital entertainment platforms, where sports fans can create their own fantasy sports teams, made up of real-life players from upcoming matches. Fantasy sports are played across cricket, football, kabaddi, basketball and other popular sports. If the player picked by the fantasy sports user in his/her team ends up performing well in the real-life match, the user stands to earn cash prizes and other rewards.
Update — October 24, 2020: On October 23, FanCode confirmed the acquisition of FanDuniya. FanCode and Dream11 are subsidiaries of Dream Sports.