image credit: ShutterStockIndians are fanatic about cricket and there are millions of avid followers of the sport. Pratik Shah is one such cricket fan who graduated in 2004 as a Computer Science engineer. He started work as a systems analyst at Subex and moved up the ranks but his urge to mix two of his loves- cricket and technology was always there. Post Subex, he co-founded Pingaala which started as white-labeled mobile publishing platform for news focused media houses. After a couple of years, Pratik felt the need to breakout and have a consumer focused product.
It was late in 2013 when Pratik and team got a chance to work with cricket portals India. During this phase, Pratik along with Sheetal Suryan who is also a technologist started Zootr Sports as a side project. The idea with their product Matchup Cricket was to have a product that can engage fans while they watch a match. Here's how they describe Matchup Cricket:
Matchup Cricket is an exciting game through which you can make predictions, answer trivia questions, earn points and redeem them for free mobile recharges or win prizes like shopping vouchers (for India only) once you cross 100 points.
They launched a web app and an Android application and the product started growing organically. The initial push was to a small group of friends who told their friends and the growth has been steady.
Talking about the business run rate, the focus for the app is currently only on growth and getting more users onboard. When Pratik last reported his numbers and showed us the app, it needed some work but the app looks to be in a rather healthy state. Matchup Cricket has 10,300 active users out of which 6000 are monthly active users. There have been more than 3.5 million predictions made out of which a million came in the last 15 days. Average session duration is 17 Minutes and if there is a live match going on, this number goes up to 23 minutes.
Going Hindi and possibilities
"We talk to our users regularly and one of the biggest challenge we saw was that many people interested in the playing couldn't understand English," says Pratik. To resolve this, Matchup Cricket has launched a hindi version of the app with an intention to get more such users onboard. Only 10% of speakers in India are conversant with English and hence this step from Matchup Cricket can give them a spike. Most of the users for Bangalore based Zootr Sports (registered company name) are from North India.
Building consumer products (non-transactional) from India has been a challenge and a very few like the immensely successful Zomato or the upcoming JustUnfollow have been able to make a work. There have been a few successful games made from India that have been recognized globally but if you look at cricket, nothing apart from the basic cricket games from big gaming studios come to mind. There is Hyderabad based HitWicket which is a strategy game, Pune based Chauka which aimed to be a Cricinfo for amateur cricketers and has done well and Zootr falls in a similar league of startups.
As a user, predictions alone seems a bit limiting but there is a large set of users out there who'd be willing to play when given an incentive of free recharge. For Matchup Cricket, once they have a significant number of players, they can look at opening up revenue streams (think cricket portals partnership) apart from targeted ads as well. It is pretty early days but Zootr has a potentially very big market in front of themselves and we'll be tuned to see how the product evolves.
Website: Matchup Cricket