Being an early mover has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages. When competition is quite low, one has to work hard for a market that is not yet ready. Nazara Technologies started in 2000 during the technology burst in India. While his family was in textile business in Sangli, Maharastra, Nitish Mittersain had his eyes on the gaming industry. Looking at his passion towards technology, his father encouraged him to venture out of the textile mills, then helped him set up Mittersain’s gaming business while he was in his final year. It was in 2000 he started Nazara Technologies to focus on building games for the tech and mobile industry.
However, Internet adoption wasn't strong back then, and smart phones were considered a luxury. There were huge challenges which Mittersain had to overcome in his early days.
"While starting out young and fresh, there were many ideas that did not work, and we had a lot of struggle with cash flow and capital. The challenge was to keep the company afloat, and to take up work that can keep that cash flow steady. The initial team was focused more towards web gaming. By 2003, the company shifted focus more towards the mobile space, and concentrated more on the features side of work. Given that the company started in early days of mobile gaming, Nazara Technologies had the first mover advantage which helped us build more relationships and understand the space better than our competitors." Mittersain Says.
Moving forward, the company raised money from Westbridge Capital. Westbridge Capital had invested around 3 million USD in Nazara Technologies between 2006 and 2007. The investment came as a much needed boost for the company and helped them reach over 10 million customers across Indian sub-continent, South East Asia, Middle East, and Africa.
Talking about their most successful game Mittersain says, "Our most successful game has been Chotta Bheem Jungle Run with nearly 1.5 million downloads on Google play store alone. Besides this, our cricket games have also witnessed a lot of traction averaging over a million downloads every month across multiple platforms."
Nazara Technologies has been focusing mainly on the 150-million active data users from the 800-million mobile user base. Looking at the demographic, their primary target are young parents who look at educational games for their kids. They‘re also rightly placing their games with a clever mix of cricket and Bollywood themes.
Mittersain says, "We’ve made a foray into building games based on Bollywood movies, as well as celebrities. Recently, we built a game around the movie Gulaab Gang. We‘ve also done games with Sachin Tendulkar in the past. With gaming gaining a lot of traction in India, increasingly production houses are beginning to see mobile gaming as an effective channel to market their games, and we are very optimistic about what the future lies in store."
This competence in the gaming industry has also allowed Nazara Technologies to launch a seed fund to support gaming startups. Earlier this month Nazara Technologies made its first investment of INR 4.2 Crores in social gaming startup HashCube along with Ah Ventures, IAN (Indian Angel Netwrok) and Blume Ventures. Gaming as a sector is picking up in India and one can expect a lot more buzz in the coming times.
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