The Indian startup culture has seen more unicorns rise up in the past few years than in a fairytale, as the country’s huge numbers and vast internet market continues to birth new and innovative solutions to existing problems. However, every once in a while, a company rises that wants nothing to do with solving problems, and wants to focus on just producing endless fun. One such company-Dream11, has become a big center of attention for investors, especially after it became a household name in the country after becoming the title sponsor last year’s Indian Premier League after betting $30mn for the spot.
Today, the company has raised a gargantuan $400mn to build an “end-to-end sports tech company.” And truth be told, Dream11 is not far away from its goal.
Even though fantasy sports apps like Dream11 are banned from Google’s Play Store, the company has been able to not just survive, but thrive in the cricket loving nation. The platform allows users to build their own imaginary roster of real players, and then place bets according to their performance in actual matches. This has attracted the attention of lots of sports enthusiasts in India, and Dream11 becoming the title sponsor of IPL 2020 only helped the startup become more mainstream.
Now, through this financing round that was led by TCV, D1 Capital Partners and Falcon Edge, the company hopes to become an even bigger name in the fantasy sports game, especially since other players like Mobile Premier League and ShareChat are causing competition to rise up in the market. (Existing investors including Tiger Global, ChrysCapital, TPG Growth, Steadview Capital and Footpath Ventures also participated in the round, valuing the company at a massive $5bn.)
“This is a huge vote of confidence to the Indian startup ecosystem. We have created the Fantasy Sports category in India to drive digital engagement to real-life sporting events and bring fans closer to the sport they love. We are proud to continually contribute to the overall expansion of the Indian sports ecosystem. Our growth trajectory is also a testimony to the honourable Prime Minister’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and Digital India,” said Harsh Jain, co-founder and chief executive of Dream Sports, in a statement.
However, the entire market of fantasy sports is facing problems in the country, as several states, including Odisha, Assam, Sikkim and Telangana have banned this type of betting. Thus, only time will tell what’s in store for Dream11 and its competitors.