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Business News/ Companies / Start-ups/  Centre Court Capital in talks with 10 firms to invest, signs first cheque to Stupa Sports

Centre Court Capital in talks with 10 firms to invest, signs first cheque to Stupa Sports

Centre Court Capital (CCC) backed by Sajjan Jindal Family Trust has shortlisted 10 start-ups out of 350 for potential investments. They have made their first investment in Stupa Sports Analytics, co-leading a pre-Series A round of ₹28 crore.

Centre Court Capital will be looking at businesses that can scale, and allow it to add value. (istockphoto)Premium
Centre Court Capital will be looking at businesses that can scale, and allow it to add value. (istockphoto)

MUMBAI: Centre Court Capital (CCC), a sports technology and gaming fund backed by the Sajjan Jindal Family Trust, has shortlisted 10 startups from a pool of over 350 potential investees. 

The fund has already made its first investment, signing a check to Stupa Sports Analytics, founded by Megha Gambhir and table tennis ace Deepak Malik, who was also the former coach of the Indian national team.

Although the CCC founders, Mustafa Ghouse, a former chief executive of JSW Sports and an Asian Games bronze medalist, and Alok Samtaney, a former investment director at TVS Capital and Sabre Partners, started working on the fund late last year, it was officially launched in April.

'Proposals from over 350 companies in the last few months'

“We've seen proposals from over 350 companies in the last few months, out of which, we are in different stages of discussions with 8-10," Ghouse, general partner, CCC, said. “We have made our first investment in Stupa, where we co-lead with Peer Capital."

Established in 2020, Stupa offers a comprehensive suite of AI-driven solutions for advanced analytics of player performance data, broadcasting capabilities, and sports digitisation tools for athletes, sports federations, broadcasters, and fan communities, worldwide.

Between CCC and Peer Capital, Stupa has raised a pre-Series A round of 28 crore at a valuation of 100 crore, said Gambhir, chief executive, Stupa Sports Analytics.

“I've seen them (Stupa and its founders) evolve and grow and, in a way, there's a lot of comfort that exists from both sides. We like what Stupa is building and we've seen them transition from what they were initially, a couple of years ago, to where they are right now," Ghouse said. 

"They are on to something unique. Bringing in a mix of technology, AI and analytics into training and competition assessment and stats. So, they are very much within our thesis and investment strategy," 

Besides, there aren’t too many players globally that Stupa has to compete with, which “obviously makes it interesting", he added.

Also Read: Former JSW Sports CEO launches 350 cr sports tech, gaming fund

According to Gambhir, Stupa had four clients in FY23, which has now more than tripled to 15, while revenues have jumped over 60%. “We are looking to close the current fiscal year with over 50 clients, and a substantial increase in revenue."

Ghouse was drawn to sports-tech and gaming sectors during his previous stints, and had wanted to start a fund. “I started seeing the type of opportunities coming up in the early-stage venture space in technology businesses and sports and fitness, as well as gaming and eSports."

"However, unlike the US and European markets, where many sector-focused funds were doing what I wanted to do, we didn’t have anything like that in India. And I just felt that there was an opportunity here to be a first mover," he added.

CCC will be looking at businesses that can scale, and allow it to add value, said Ghouse. “I think there's been a very big change in the way sports fitness and gaming has been looked at over the last four or five years, which is making it a lot more mainstream, and a lot more front and centre. The timing is right, and the opportunity is there." 

According to Ghouse, CCC will be focussing on tech-enabled sports businesses, including opportunities linked to performance and analytics, and related fields, or targetting fans and viewership media broadcast, on the consumption side. 

“We're not looking to invest into franchises or leagues. We will look at early-stage investmebts, ranging from 8-15 crore to 24 crore, in pre-Series A or Series A rounds to start with," he added.

CCC, with a target corpus of 350-crore, is backed by JSW, Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi), Premji Invest, USK Capital, and large Indian corporate sports investors, including GMR Sports, and SG Sports. While investors have already pledged 200 crore, it has received soft commitments of another 60 crore. The remaining anount will be signed by October, Ghouse said.

“We will be looking at 8-10 investments now, and will reserve 50% of the fund for follow up rounds. We want to have enough capital to do at least a second cheque in all these investments and maybe even a third."

The fund's lifespan is 10 years, and investors may start considering exits from the 7th year onward.

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Published: 15 May 2024, 04:18 PM IST
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