If India is tipped to be $10 billion sports economy over the next five to seven years, there already exists a start-up that has made to the Unicorn Club and has emerged as the most prominent rising Indian sports brand with its strong presence in the ongoing Indian Premier League and sponsorship of the upcoming ICC World Cup.
Fantasy sports platform Dream11 has been setting new benchmarks of growth for the Indian sports industry, while there are several other enterprises which in a short span of time have highlighted the commercial potential for sports business in India.
InsideSports brings to its readers five sports start-ups that are changing the sporting ecosystem of the country:
Dream11, co-founded by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sehty in 2008, has truly added wings to its flight of commercial fantasy. The fantasy sports platform that offers users the options to play fantasy cricket, hockey, football, kabaddi and basketball has in April this year become the first Indian gaming company to enter the Unicorn Club with the completion of the secondary investment by Steadview Capital.
As per the IFSG-KPMG report, in terms of total user base on a fantasy sports platform, Dream11 is reportedly the market leader with over 50 million users with its consumer base growing at a CAGR of 230% over a period of 3 years.
The brand endorsed by former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has commercial partnership with the seven of the eight Indian Premier League franchisees. Dream 11 is also a commercial partner for the upcoming ICC World Cup.
Apart from Steadview, Dream11’s investors include Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples Equity and Tencent. Dream11 was also recognised as one of the top 10 innovative companies in India by Fast Company in 2019.
Mobile Premier League
Mobile Premier League, or better known as MPL, is a mobile e-Sports platform based in India. It is operated by Bangalore-based Galactus Funware Technology Pvt. Ltd.
In November last year, MPL has announced a $5 million in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital. Speculation of a follow-up $30million funding round led by Go-Jek started as early as December 2018. On 24 April 2019, it was officially announced that MPL has raised $35.5 million in Series A funding from lead investors Go-Ventures, Times Internet & Sequoia Capital India.
On 15 April 2019, MPL signed up as a member of All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), which focuses on setting regulations & policies to govern the gaming industry in India.
Also in April , MPL entered into a strategic partnership with flipkart owned PhonePe. Expansion to the Indonesian market was announced in this month.
MPL was founded in September 2018 by Sai Srinivas Kiran Garimella and Shubham Malhotra, who earlier worked together on Consumer Electronics company CREO.
Users can compete in multiple skill based mobile gaming tournaments on MPL. It was launched in September 2018 and as of April 2019, it claims a user base of more than 25 million.
CultFit, a chain of gyms owned by CureFit, offers offers a range of healthy food options under EatFit, mental wellness programmes through MindFit and diagnostic centres through CareFit.
CureFit was founded in 2016 by Mukesh Bansal, co-founder of fashion retailer Myntra, and Ankit Nagori ex-chief business officer at Flipkart. Bansal and Nagori worked closely at Flipkart after the company bought Myntra in 2014.
Health and fitness startup CureFit has raised $75 million in a funding round led by existing investor Accel Growth, less than a year after it raised $120 million. According to Mint calculations, the latest investment values the company at over $500 million.
Existing investors Kalaari Capital and IDG Ventures India and new investors Anand Piramal Trust and Pratithi Investment Trust also participated in the Series D round, regulatory filings sourced from data intelligence platform Paper.vc showed.
Lead investor Accel Growth invested approximately $30 million.
The brand is endorsed by Indian national cricket team opener KL Rahul.
The company has made a slew of acquisitions, rare for an early-stage startup, starting with two boutique fitness brands—Cult, in 2016, and The Tribe, in 2017—that have now become its fitness centres in Bengaluru.
The company also acquired yoga chain a1000yoga and Bengaluru-based health food delivery firm Kristys Kitchen to launch its food business in 2017. Earlier this year, CureFit acquired health beverage brand Rejoov.
Sportz Interactive is the leading sports digital solutions company in India. The company was started in 2002 by a handful of software professionals from a small garage in Mumbai’s Andheri-Jogeshwari area. A decade and a half later, Sportz Interactive is the most trusted name that is revolutionising the sports fan experience the world over.
In October 2016, Sportz Interactive was acquired by FW Sports Investment Fund and ASK Pravi Capital Advisors for an undisclosed amount. Under the new ownership, the company continue to work with STATS LLC for providing its services and use the funding for driving growth and expanding to new regions.
The brand had prevailed over global players to win the bid to create the FIFA World Cup 2018 Official Fantasy Gaming app.
Sportz Interactive has also been a part of the growth of Indian sports ecosystem. It is working closely with country’s leading sports broadcasters, marquee leagues like the Indian Super League and the Pro Kabaddi League, providing digital solutions to media houses, professional teams and sports governing bodies.
ZEVEN is a multi-dimensional brand committed to transforming sports in India by making active sport an important part of day to day life. Breathe, Eat, Sleep, Play. Zeven is a revolution, unleashing your potential.
Launched in 2016, it was co-founded by tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi, and business leader Hemchandra Zaveri, with a mission to transform the sporting culture in India by encouraging more individuals to actively participate in sports.
At the time of inception the startup had raised about ₹50 crore from external investors. The brand offers footwear, apparel and accessories across six sport categories – cricket, football, tennis, run, walk and gym.