Home / Companies / News /  Dream Sports notches up $400 mn more

A clutch of investors, including Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) and D1 Capital Partners, have invested $400 million in Dream Sports, co-founder and chief executive Harsh Jain said.

This is the first India investment of TCV, a long-time backer of Netflix Inc. The new investors bought some of the shares being sold by Dream Sports’ early backers. The company, which runs the online fantasy sports platform Dream 11, was valued at $2.5 billion about six months ago when it raised $225 million. The latest funding values India’s first online gaming unicorn at close to $5 billion, a person in the know said.

“Our early investors are selling part of their holdings and not exiting fully. We are at a point where we can support our own growth. This is a huge vote of confidence in the Indian startup ecosystem. We have created the fantasy sports category to drive digital engagement to real-life sporting events and bring fans closer to the sport they love," Jain said in an interview.

The new round also saw participation from existing investors including Tiger Global, ChrysCapital, TPG Growth, Steadview Capital and Footpath Ventures. Falcon Edge Capital, co-founded by Navroz Udwadia, invested via Alpha Wave.

Avendus Capital was the financial adviser to Dream Sports on the transaction.

Early investors Kalaari Capital and Multiples Alternate Asset Management have sold some shares in this round. China’s Tencent Holdings, which has not sold any shares, continues to hold less than 10% in Dream Sports. “I am happy to provide great returns to them, so they can repay the LPs and create that virtuous cycle, which will then allow them to raise more funds and fund the next wave of entrepreneurs and keep the tech ecosystem going," said Jain, who founded Dream Sports along with Bhavit Sheth in 2008.

“We are inspired by what Harsh, Bhavit and the Dream Sports team have built, and we look forward to partnering with them," said Gopi Vaddi, general partner at TCV.

Dream11, which has around 100 million users, faced a setback during the early part of the pandemic since fantasy sports is based on real-life matches. That has, however, changed with the resumption of sporting events. Jain is also looking at growing the non-fantasy part of the business. “It’s not just about Dream 11, but we are building a much larger vision for Dream Sports to make sports better," he said.

Dream Sports includes other brands such as FanCode, DreamSetGo and DreamX in its portfolio. FanCode is a multi-sport aggregator platform, which offers a mix of content, commerce, and community engagement.

While Dream 11 contributes about 90% of the firm’s business in terms of revenue, other brands in the portfolio are expected to start contributing in the next 2-3 years, Jain said.

Jain said he is aiming to build a bigger sports tech firm before taking it public. “We believe the right time for us is when we build a sports tech firm with a lot more of these fledgling startups that we have created, incubated or funded grow up. We are not just a one-trick pony with fantasy sports. We have a much larger offering, and we will go public in a bigger way, maybe a couple of years down the line," he added.

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