The Mobile Premier League, a major real-money stakes-based gaming operator, laid off 10% of its workforce, or 100 employees, and decided to pull out of Indonesia. Even as the company sent an email to employees confirming the developments, one source indicated that the number of people impacted could be higher. An MPL spokesperson declined to provide an official comment to Entrackr.
The startup’s founders, Sai Srinivas and Shubh Malhotra, were quoted as citing market conditions globally as a reason for the cutback — the real money gaming app, which has escaped classification as a gambling for legal reasons, is part of the few categories among Indian unicorn startups that actually make profits. However, MPL in particular booked losses of almost Rs 400 crore in FY21.
Employees impacted by the layoffs will reportedly receive a severance and an option to hold on to their employee stock option (ESOPs) for a decade.
The development was first reported by MoneyControl.
Large Indian startups have been reeling from global markets falling, and scrambling to extend their runway. This morning, it emerged that FrontRow was laying off 30% of its workforce. While a slew of growth and late stage startups including Meesho, Vedantu, Trell, mFine, Unacademy and Ola have had to layoff over several thousands of employees collectively in the past two months, the extent of the problem facing startups becomes clear when real money gaming startups face issues as well.
While other ed-tech startups like Vedantu and Unacademy have had layoffs too, the gaming industry has had better luck at making money from users. Of India’s 100 unicorns (or at least, among those of the 100 who have kept their valuation intact over the last few weeks), two of the top ten profitable startups, Dream11 and Games 24×7, are in the real money gaming space.
MPL is headquartered in Bengaluru, with offices in New York and Singapore, with its Jakarta office likely to shutter soon. The company claims to have over 9 crore users on its platform and offers more than 60 online games such as Fantasy Cricket, Rummy, Speed Chess with real cash prizes in paid tournaments and 1V1 games. During FY21, MPL’s revenue from operations shot up by 709.5% to $51 million from $6.3 million in FY20. In contrast, the company’s annual losses grew by only 12.5% to $54.44 million in FY21, indicating better days ahead.