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Harsh Jain, CEO and co-founder, Dream Sports.
Harsh Jain, CEO and co-founder, Dream Sports.

Tiger leads $225 mn Dream11 fundraising

With this, the valuation of Dream Sports has vaulted to more than $2.5 billion from $1.1 billion in April last year

Dream Sports, India’s most valuable sports technology company, has secured $225 million in new funding, led by Tiger Global Management, TPG Tech Adjacencies and ChrysCapital, as investors bet on the country’s nascent but fast-growing sports technology company.

Footpath Ventures also invested in the company that runs the Dream11 fantasy sports platform, the startup said in a statement on Monday.

With this, the valuation of Dream Sports has vaulted to more than $2.5 billion from $1.1 billion in April last year, two people familiar with the transaction said on condition of anonymity.

Young people have been turning to online gaming to keep themselves entertained as they isolate themselves during the pandemic.

The ban on Chinese apps and games, including the popular PUBG, in India has also forced people to look for alternatives, boosting the revenues of online gaming companies and drawing investors to them.

“We are proud to continue adding value to our 10 crore (100 million) Indian sports fans, investors, employees and the overall sports ecosystem in India. In the last two years, we have grown beyond fantasy sports to sports content, merchandise, streaming, experiences, and there is much more to come," said Harsh Jain, CEO and co-founder, Dream Sport.

Dream11 has recently won the bid for the title sponsorship of the Indian Premier League (IPL), a move that is likely to cement its position as the leader in the fantasy sport category in the country.

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“Dream11 has the IPL title sponsorship and millions of new users in a locked-down India with cheap data. So, this valuation is not surprising, despite the risks of sudden policy and tax changes in the country," said Prasanto K. Roy, a technology policy consultant.

Parent Dream Sports was valued at $700 million in September 2018, when it raised $100 million from Chinese internet giant Tencent.

Gross revenue of online fantasy sports operators has nearly tripled to 2,400 crore in the year ended 31 March 2020 from 920 crore in the previous year, according to a FIFS-KPMG 2020 report. A Google-KPMG report suggests that online gaming will become a $1.1 billion opportunity in India by 2021.

Over the past few weeks, startup unicorns have been able to raise millions of dollars in funding from several late-stage investors, as they chart a new phase of growth in a covid-world. Last week, online food delivery startup Zomato raised $103 million from Tiger Global Management and said it plans to go public in the first half of 2021.

A week before that, edtech firm Byju’s secured an investment of $500 million from private equity firm Silver Lake Partners at a valuation of $10.8 billion.

As individuals spend more time online, digital gaming startups have seen user traffic triple.

“With big investor funds and big (IPL) ad spends, I see Dream11 more inclined to wanting to scale to a hundred million more users than worry about profits for now," added Roy.

While Dream11 directly competes with fantasy sports platform Mobile Premier League and Paytm First Games, it has also diversified into long-tail sports content and contextual commerce.

Apart from offering fantasy gaming, the startup launched a multi-sport aggregator platform for sports fans, FanCode in 2019.

Dream Sports also has a sports accelerator, called DreamX, which houses DreamSetGo, the company’s sports travel and experiences platform for popular sporting events, and DreamPay, the company’s payment arm.

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