Called Games24x7 Ventures, the new entity will support homegrown players operating at the ‘intersection of technology and interactive entertainment’
The corporate investment arm of the gaming unicorn will have a corpus of INR 400 Cr over the next 5 years
The fund will be used to partner with startups in online gaming, digital marketing, digital content, sports tech, esports, blockchain technology and analytics categories
Gaming platform Games24x7 on Tuesday (November 1) announced the launch of its corporate investment arm to back early-stage startups in the country.
Called Games24x7 Ventures, the new entity will support homegrown players operating at the ‘intersection of technology and interactive entertainment’. It will have a corpus of INR 400 Cr over the next 5 years.
“…We believe that we are very well positioned to support early-stage companies beyond just capital. Our ROI-focused mindset, intense customer focus, and scientific operating methodology of scaling topline while preserving sound unit economics would be very beneficial in partnering with founders in building hyper growth companies which will endure,” Games24x7 co-CEO and cofounder Trivikraman Thampy said.
The fund will be used by Games24x7 to partner with startups in categories including online gaming, digital marketing, digital content, sports tech, esports, blockchain technology, analytics and other domains. The move will also enable Games24x7 to partner with startups that synergise with its core business areas.
The gaming unicorn will also provide mentorship to the selected startups to accelerate their growth and help them build disruptive solutions. The move will also leverage Games24x7’s deep understanding of consumers to help the selected players scale their offerings and offer tailor-made products.
“As a highly strategic venture capital partner we bring in a unique blend of access to patient capital along with strategic value additions in areas such as product development, data science, marketing automation, and user growth and monetization to help (the) next generation of young, ambitious founders scale their ventures with confidence,” Games24x7 CFO Rahul Tewari said.
Founded in 2006 by economists Bhavin Pandya and Thampy, Games24x7 is home to popular online gaming brands such as RummyCircle and My11 Circle. The startup counts marquee names such as Tiger Global, The Raine Group, and Malabar Investment Advisors as its investors.
The move to set up the fund comes seven months after the gaming startup raised $75 Mn at a valuation of $2.5 Bn, becoming India’s 99th unicorn.
Games24x7 competes with a slew of players across multiple offerings. My11Circle locks horns with giants such as Dream11, MPL, and Nazara’s Halaplay in the fantasy esports arena. On the other hand, RummyCircle competes with PlayRummy, JungleeRummy, and Adda52Rummy, among others, in the online rummy games segment.
The startup reported a profit of INR 110 Cr in FY21, down from INR 383.7 Cr in FY20. Its total income from operations surged 19.8% YoY to INR 1,573 Cr in FY21.
Despite being mired in controversies and in the middle of a regulatory churn, the gaming space continues to be an emerging field. According to a report, India is the second largest gaming market in the world with more than 9.33 Bn mobile game downloads in 2022 alone.
However, the space continues to attract controversy as many state governments, including Tamil Nadu and Kerala, have banned online betting games. In many instances, industry players approached courts and got a stay on the ban orders of the government.
The Centre is contemplating a federal framework to govern the burgeoning space. For the time being, the critics and supporters continue to spar as there appears to be no rigid framework to oversee the industry.
The Indian fantasy sports industry was pegged at INR 34,600 Cr in FY21 and was projected to soar to INR 1.65 Lakh mark by FY25.