Home / Companies / News /  We  aspire  to boost sports tech offering: Harsh Jain

Bengaluru/New Delhi: Sports technology firm Dream Sports is looking to ramp up its non-fantasy offerings even as its core online fantasy sports platform Dream 11 will continue to drive revenue growth. The company, which has signed up 100 million users, plans to push the growth of its portfolio companies in the next 2-3 years. In an interview, Dream Sports co-founder and chief executive Harsh Jain spoke about the company’s growth plans, an initial public offering and the regulatory environment for fantasy sports. Edited excerpts:

What’s the business plan and strategy for 2021?

This year, we continue to focus on higher retention for our users and keep adding value and new features. As we are growing as a company, we are focusing on the non-fantasy part of our business. This is the vision and the kind of company that we want to build, so it’s not just about Dream 11.

Last year, March to June was almost a wipeout. Gaming still did very well because it’s based on simulation, but fantasy sports is based on real-life matches. So, if those matches aren’t there, we don’t exist. Once sports got back on track, we caught up in the past six months.

Why did you pursue another secondary round after the one in 2020?

Exits have been missing from the tech ecosystem in India. As a founder, I am very happy to be in a position to provide good returns to investors. As a mature company, we have reached a stage where we are able to support our growth internally. Exits like these will improve the venture capital ecosystem in the country. As far as primary fundraising goes, when we need it, we will go out and raise the money, and we hope investors will support us.

Will you consider an IPO anytime soon?

We wouldn’t want to jump into the IPO market just because it is hot right now. The right time for us will be when we build a large sports technology company with a lot more of these smaller 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 sports tech offering, and we would like to go public as a sports tech company in a bigger way, maybe a couple of years down the line. We are not interested in going public as of now.

Given the popularity of fantasy sports, do you think a regulatory framework is missing?

The government is doing a great job of talking to companies and taking the right steps. The first of these would be by Niti Aayog, which has done a phenomenal job of drafting the first set of guidelines for online fantasy sports. We hope that it will be published soon as a final version. We also think e-sports and fantasy sports need to be bifurcated as two distinct verticals under sports. E-sports is competitive gaming recognized as a sport, while fantasy sports is digital sports engagement based on real-life sports.

Do you think fantasy sports will see multiple large companies?

The entry barrier is so low in the business that there will always be new companies coming in with innovations and new concepts that appeal to the masses. In monopolistic or duopolistic industries, usually, the entry barriers are high, and fantasy sports is the exact opposite. A person with a laptop can buy software and start a fantasy sports business tomorrow. That’s why there are over 150 companies in India today.

What’s the plan for Dream Pay since it operates in a competitive space?

Dream Pay was born to focus on improving our payments. The volatility of payments in our business is extremely high. It’s like a flashpoint as match lineups are announced 30 minutes before the game begins, and that’s when volumes skyrocket. Payments scale up and down so aggressively that regular payment gateways can’t deal with these fluctuations.

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