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Dream 11 becomes India’s First Online Gaming Unicorn Startup

Dream 11 becomes India's First Online Gaming Unicorn Startup

Dream11, India’s biggest sports game just announced today about the completion of a secondary investment by Steadview Capital, an Asia-focused alternative asset manager. This investment marks Dream11’s entry into the ‘Unicorn Club’ as the first Indian gaming company to achieve this milestone. Start-ups valued at $1 billion or more are called unicorn but Dream11 valuation was not disclosed in the round of funding.

Apart from Steadview Capital, Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples Equity and Tencent are the other marquee investors in Dream11. As per the IFSG-KPMG report, in terms of total user base on a fantasy sports platform, Dream11 is the market leader with over 50 million users. Its user base has rapidly expanded at a compound anual growth rate of approximately 230% over a period of 3 years.

Commenting on this development, Harsh Jain, CEO and Co-Founder, Dream11 said, “We are excited to welcome Steadview Capital onboard. Our exponential growth over the past few years would not have been possible without the support and trust of our investors and Dreamsters (employees). Providing great returns to our shareholders, whether investors or Dreamsters, is very important to us and further reinforces their belief in Dream11. We will keep working hard and are targeting to end the year with 100 million users.”

Ravi Mehta, Managing Director, Steadview Capital, said, “We at Steadview believe that Dream11 is poised to become the leading sports company in India catering to everything a sports fan needs. We think very highly of the visionary founders and are excited to partner with the team in this journey. The company’s phenomenal growth track-record, dominant leadership in daily fantasy gaming and strong engagement metrics is a testament to the consumer love for the platform.”

Bhavit Sheth, COO and Co-Founder, Dream11, said, “We are looking forward to working with the Steadview Capital team in providing the best sports experience to fans. I am proud of the fact that a lean yet highly efficient team of just 200 Dreamsters have been the driving force behind our rapid growth.”

Vani Kola, Founder & Managing Director, Kalaari Capital, said, ”A Startup is shaped by the spirit of the founders. At Dream11 that is obvious in everything, the aggressive scale, focused execution, customer centricity, employee well being. Becoming the latest unicorn is indeed a proud moment but I expect the Dream11 team to push sports engagement to new heights. Kalaari is glad to have been a part from the beginning of their journey.“

Shashin Shah, Founder and CIO, Think Investment, said, “Harsh and Bhavit have done an incredible job of maintaining a great culture while guiding the business through hyper growth. Dream11 is now the world’s largest fantasy sports game and is paving the way for Indian companies to build truly global consumer tech businesses.”

Sumit Sinha, Managing Director, Multiples Equity, said, “At Dream11, we are excited to partner with a really top quality team to drive a shift in how people engage with sports. We are at the beginning of something really big here as this platform becomes synonymous with sports engagement over time.”

Now that IPL is going on full throttle we the viewers are getting bombarded with numerous brand ads. Many of them seem to be hastily made and mainly deployed with the intention of grabbing maximum eyeballs through frequency build-up. One campaign which stands out is the series of ads by Dream11. Their campaign has successfully captured the nuances of tennis ball gully cricket. Redirecting the street light to light up the arena, borrowing the bat from the dhobi because of a broken bat, the elation after finding the ball from the dense bush are all situations which will resonate with a large percentage of Indians who have played the game. Kudos to the creative team for triggering nostalgia. This is a good example of insight to implementation.

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