Online gaming firms like Nazara, Octro and Mech Mocha have created the initial buzz, while next-generation real money gaming companies have been able to prove the power of low-cost internet penetration and digital payments infra.
In the real money gaming segment, players such as Dream11, Mobile Premier League or MPL, BrainBazi, RummyCircle, and Rummy Passion are carrying the baton.
While Dream11 took a leap to become the first Unicorn in this space, MPL is on the verge of becoming the next big startup from Indian e-sports space which is expected to grow to $1 billion by 2021.
The Bengaluru-based startup has just closed $35.5 million Series A round led by Indonesian ride-hailing giant Go-Jek, Sequoia Capital and Times Internet Limited. The seven-month-old startup has also received backing from RTP Global, BeeNext, Base Growth and Venture Highway in this round.
During the initial talks, it was expected that Go-Jek will be investing around $30 million in MPL.
Citing sources, an ET report said that the fresh funding has catapulted MPL’s post money valuation to $150 million. Notably, the gaming firm was valued at about $12-13 million during $5 million round in October 2018.
MPL will deploy the capital to ramp up its product and user growth in India.
With over 25 million downloads, MPL hosts 25 gaming developers on its platform and planning to hit the milestone of 100 developers by 2019.
The startup works with third-party developers and then publishes the game on the platform where users participate in skill-based games including cricket, puzzles, chess, crosswords to win real cash.
For Go-Jek, this investment also marks the first bet on the Indian consumer Internet firm. Previously, Go-Jek had acquired four startups and has been setting up an engineering team in Bengaluru.
Besides, Go-Jek is also in talks with Fasoos’s parent Rebel Foods to set up a joint venture in SEA region. The possible synergy may see $8-10 million initial investments from either side.