Ahead of a much-anticipated IPO, gaming company Nazara Technologies has invested an undisclosed amount in vernacular social contesting women-centric platform BakBuck.
The fresh funds will help BakBuck expand its mobile games, which are currently available in Hindi, to 10 other Indian languages. Abhinay Jain, CEO, BakBuck said, “Bakbuck shall use these funds to enhance product development, acquire new users and build a strong community of women while delivering unique gaming and social contesting experiences.”
Founded in August 2018 by Abhinay Jain, Shashank Kakrecha and Rohit Naidu, Mumbai-based BakBuck uses technology and immersive user interface. It transforms traditional Indian games like “Antakshari”, “Saanp Seedhi” and “Tol mol ke Bol” into online contests that users can play anytime, with anyone.
BakBuck: Bringing Popular Family Games Online
The company claims to have registered 5x user growth in the past few months with high user stickiness. BakBuck claims that its focus multi-player games and its diverse user base, consisting of more than 70% females from non-metro cities, is its unique selling point.
BakBuck gives its winners the opportunity to claim gifts of their choice or donate to a noble cause on the app itself in exchange for points earned.
Manish Agarwal, CEO of Nazara Technologies Pvt. Ltd. says, “Nazara has successfully built a very strong network of younger audience through its investments and offerings in sports based mobile games, and is now looking at building the largest and most secure platform for virtual kitty parties where housewives can interact with each other freely and securely and enjoy a multitude of entertainment options.”
Nazara Technologies: Eying The Gaming Sector
Founded in 2000 by Nitish Mittersain, Nazara Technologies is a mobile games developer and publisher that provides unique services such as Games Club. The company has received total funding of $102 Mn, getting funding from ESL for a minority stake and $28 Mn from Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.
While investing in InstaSportz, Agarwal had said, “Offline gaming, like some of the bets we have made in the past, is part of our strategy to create business verticals that can scale INR 1,000 Cr in revenues over the next 3-5 years.” Beyond this, Nazara has invested in startups such as MasterMind Sports, Truly Social, NODWIN Gaming, Moong Labs, and HalaPlay.
Here’s what’s been happening at Nazara as it waits to go public:
- Nazara’s subscription services are accessed by 130.43 Mn monthly visitors from 61 countries
- It is spread across India and emerging markets in the Middle-East, Latin America, and Africa. It claims to have over 4.08 Mn paid users
- It has licensed mobile gaming rights to popular IPs like Virat Kohli, Hrithik Roshan, Chhota Bheem, among others
- In June 2018, Nazara expanded its operations to Kenya through its subsidiary NZ World Kenya Ltd (NZ World) to launch sports betting, sports fantasy, sports arcade, and a Sports Real Money Quiz, starting with FIFA 2018
- Nazara Technologies and Delta Corp invested $5.8 Mn (INR 40 Cr) in HalaPlay’s Series A funding round
- In the upcoming IPO, in Nazara Technologies is expected to raise $142 Mn (INR 1000 Cr) at a valuation of around $500 Mn, one of the investors, WestBridge Capital, is expected to get a whopping 75-80X return on its partial exit
Online Gaming Sector In India
As a revolution from offline board games such as Ludo and Snakes & Ladders, the first touch of mobile gaming came with Snakes on Nokia 800. As the technology enveloped digital touch and ease of use became a bigger criteria, the games evolved from RoadRash and Mario to PUBG, Red Dead Redemption and Fortnite.
However, for gaming enthusiasts and sport fans, online fantasy gaming continues to hold a lot interest. The sector boasts of gaming unicorn Dream11, to newly launched players such as Mobile Premier League, 99Games, Octro, and Games2Win etc.
The online gaming industry in India is expected to generate a revenue of INR 11,900 Cr by financial year 2023, growing at 22% CAGR, according to a report by consulting major KPMG and industry’s self-regulatory body, Indian Federation of Sports Gaming.
Digbijoy Shukla, head, startup ecosystem, AISPL had said in a GATO 2.0 conference that gaming industry can become a billion dollar market in India by 2020 as the number of mobile users are expected to reach 700 Mn by then.
The gaming sector has undergone a tremendous revolution in the last few years and Nazara Technologies’ aim to go public further adds to the potential of the market.