Game developer and publisher, Nazara, has earmarked $20 Mn to invest in around 20 startups across emerging markets by 2020. In the last two years, Nazara has invested about $50 Mn across 13 startups including HalaPlay, SportsKeeda, Paper Boat Apps and others.
According to Nitish Mittersain, managing director of Nazara, the decision of increasing their investments in the ecosystem came after the company finally saw validation of its strategy to develop synergies between Nazara’s various acquisitions.
While there is no fixed agenda for these investments, Manish Agarwal, CEO of Nazara said that the company is definitely interested in growth-stage startups from esports to virtual reality categories. The ticket size of these investments is expected to be around $600K – $1 Mn.
With 100 Mn MAUs, Nazara, the underlying method for choosing investee companies has always been about looking at the high traction consumer segment and then finding the company innovating in the space, Agarwal added.
Founded in 2000 by Mittersain, Nazara Technologies is a mobile game developer and publisher, which also runs its own seed fund for investment in the gaming and sports ecosystem. The company claims to have business operations in 64 countries including Singapore, Dubai, Mauritius and subsidiary companies in Africa. The company has received total funding of $102 Mn, including investors such as Turtle Entertainment GmbH, the IP owner of the world’s largest esports franchise (ESL), IIFL Special Opportunities Fund and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.
Nazara has built a strong network of companies in interactive gaming and sports media through its investments and acquisitions in various gaming categories including esports, fantasy sports, mobile cricket games, and real money gaming among others.
According to the founder, post-acquisition, these companies have seen notable growth in their revenues. Particularly, Nodwin which he claimed has grown its revenue by 300%.
Nazara has a network of over 100 Mn monthly active users in India and has licensed mobile gaming rights to popular Indian IP characters such as Chhota Bheem, Motu Patlu, Mighty Raju, Shikari Shambhu, Roll #21, Eena Meena Deeka, Oggy and the Cockroaches and Shin Chan. Nazara also owns IPs like World Cricket Championship (WCC), EPIC Cricket, India Premiership and IPG.TV.
Other investee companies of Nazara include SportsUnity, Nodwin, Next Wave Multimedia, Hash Cube, Mastermind Sports, Moonglabs Technologies, Bakbuck, CrimzonCode, InstaSportz, and NZWorld.
The online gaming industry in India is expected to generate a revenue of INR 11,900 Cr by 2023, growing at 22% CAGR, according to a report by consulting major KPMG and Indian Federation of Sports Gaming — industry’s self-regulatory body.
The report also noted a hike in the number of gamers and game developing companies in India. The number of game developing companies have touched 250 in 2018 as compared to 20 companies in 2010 while the number of gamers has reached 250 Mn from 25 Mn in 2010.