Canadian startup, Play It Interactive, raises $ 1.1 million funding from Investors
Almost all apps are targeted at Android, iOS or Windows platforms. But there are still a huge percentage of users in emerging markets who use feature phones and do not have access to apps. Play It Interactive aims to address this issue and bring feature phone as well as smartphone users under the same roof by developing a mobile content platform that can be accessed on any device. They have been successful so far.
Play It Interactive has announced the closing of their oversubscribed funding round of $ 1.1 million USD (about INR 7 Crore). In an exclusive chat with Yourstory its President and co-founder Cory Cleveland and Head International Ray Newal disclosed that they were originally planning to raise only $ 750,000 from Canadian investors, who high net worth individuals, but convinced in the potential that the idea had their investors were willing to go up-to $ 1.1 million. This will enable the firm to deploy its mobile fan engagement offering to media companies and sports brands in the Indian market.
The firm plans to use the funds raised to establish a presence in India to drive business and product development activities within the region. The Canadian start-up is opening up an Indian head office in Mumbai, and will be recruiting local talent to enhance and localize its product offering as well as manage local partnerships
“This round of financing will allow Play It to build on opportunities in India and surrounding countries. We are excited about our traction and early success in the Indian market,” says Cory Cleveland, President and Co-Founder of Play It Interactive.
“Play It is designed to engage a wide audience of sports fans in India by enabling immersive experiences, that are accessible to mobile subscribers at the lowest price point possible,” says Ray Newal.
Play It wants to make their experience accessible to masses that is not constrained by their geographical location and access to stable networks. They have built their platform with the USP being that it is easily accessible and provides a good user experience even over 2G connections.
They also want to enter other professional sports among those who display a lot of passion and interest among the casual sports lovers.
Play It apps run on feature phones and Android devices as there are still a huge percentage of users in emerging markets. Play It platform offers good user experience even on feature phones.Play It Interactive expects mobile user profile to change in India to offer by 2016 by when it will have 80 per cent of phone users to possess smartphones.
Play It piloted its engagement platform via a Fantasy Football app, to coincide with the FIFA World Cup 2014, for an Indian audience. “During the event Play It saw over 500,000 unique users, with an average user session time of over 14 minutes. These early indications point to tremendous engagement potential of our platform in the Indian market,” adds Ray Newal, International Head. He had earlier founded Jigsee, a bandwidth efficient mobile streaming platform for media companies in the Indian market.
Play It Interactive created several minimum viable products –Play It Football, Play It Cricket – to test its fan engagement platform.
The market potential for fan engagement apps is really high in India, with growing interest in professional sports like IPL Cricket, IPL Soccer and more recently Pro Kabaddi League. Professional sports in have been drawing large fan following and active users, who enjoy participating and following these sports closely.
These apps give users a chance to follow their passion for the game, experiment with their own unique team, analyze the game and win prizes by predicting the outcome correctly.
Play It is looking at multiple sources to generate income. They are looking to partner with Media Houses, who have content or rights to content and want to monetize. They are also looking at different branding opportunities.
Play It is looking at multiple strategies when it comes to the mobile platform. They are looking beyond simple display ads, more powerful forms of branding opportunities to play a big part in the monetization stream.
By offering the apps on feature phones, the company is looking to build fan loyalty and seamlessly move over the users when they switch to smartphones.
Play It will enter the iOS platform, when they think it is the time is right.
Play It team that interacted with Yourstory
Cory (right) is the President and Cofounder at Play It Gaming, a business venturist with diverse experience in small and large finance and business development. His previous experiences include public company. M&A finance and development, wholesale business development, business planning, restaurant management, oilrig roughneck, and a chef’s apprentice.
He is now planning to take Play It to the next level, concentrating on emerging markets such as India, Nigeria, South Africa, and Latin America.
Ray (left) is the International head for Play It .He has had experience of successfully launching a mobile video streaming start up- Jigsee Inc., with funding from IAN, for the Indian feature phone users that he subsequently sold to Vuclip.
Ray understands the psychology of fan engagement and has a wide knowledge and experience of running and leveraging the fan engagement model.
You can check out their website here for more details.