Mumbai-based Nazara Games seems to be betting high on London-based gaming startups. The company has now picked up a 26 percent stake in Mastermind Sports, making it the Indian company's second such investment in the month of April. Nazara Games had invested an undisclosed amount in London-based gaming studio Truly Social as well.
Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Games, said,
We are always open for investment in a good team which has unique ideas and sees value in Nazara as strategic investor.”
He brings 18 years of experience in the digital industry to the company and has led various other gaming companies like Mumbai-based Zapak and Reliance Games, in the past. He has done BTech from National Institute of Technology (NIT) Warangal and MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad.
In November 2014, Nazara Games co-invested an undisclosed amount in a Bengaluru-based mobile gaming startup HashCube along with Ah! Ventures, CDMA Development Group Founder Perry LaForge, and existing investors Indian Angel Network and Blume Ventures.
Nazara Games is present in 41 countries across the world and claims to reach out to more than two billion consumers. Its customers include mobile carriers and handset manufacturers.
Manish said Nazara will look at investing in companies with:
- Unique idea that has the ability to reach mass audience
- Strong team members with hard skills in technology
- Ready Proof of Concept are a must.
- Significant number of consumer’s data
Apart from these requirements, a sustainable business model, a well-structured road map in terms of scalability, product development are other important points.
What does Mastermind Sports do?
London-based Mastermind Sports creates social and interactive games for the smartphone. Founded in 2014 by gaming entrepreneur Tom McCall and Bengaluru tech entrepreneur Pratik Shah, the startup has offices in London and Bengaluru.
Our focus is the ‘second screen’ experience. We aim to use our sports and technology insights to create mobile games that engage fans during live matches, enhancing experience with their friends and family without geographical constraints,” said Tom.
Its live prediction game ‘CricBet’ allows users to stake virtual coins on what they think is about to happen during a match against eight predictions markets. The platform offers leader boards, levels, tournaments and a forum to interact with other fans. The game is tailored effectively for the Indian market and it is similar to Fantasy Cricket, which appeared 10 years ago. Mastermind Sports acquired real-time cricket game Matchup Cricket in 2015 to tap the growth of 'second screen' gaming market.
Manish said, “We believe that second-screen experience via mobile phones would convert a passive activity of watching TV into a highly interactive activity. Our investment in Mastermind Sports is to enable deeply engaged fans to have a real-time social second-screen experience and amplify the fun of watching matches with friends, cutting across geographical constraints.”
Gaming industry in India
With the affordability of smartphones and data connectivity, gaming industry is slowly picking up pace. Though the Indian market is still under-developed, the size of the mobile gaming market globally is $30 billion and is expected to cross the $40-billion mark in the next two years.
In his earlier interaction with YourStory, Manish had said that India has approximately 200-250 gaming startups and 100 million mobile gamers, a number which is likely to increase to 300-400 million in the next two to three years.
Mobile gaming firm Mech Mocha has raised an undisclosed amount from Flipkart and Blume Ventures. Hyderabad-based gaming startup has raised Rs 1.65-crore seed fund from The Chennai Angles. PlaySimple has raised seed fund from IDG Ventures and other angel investors. Moonfrog Labs raised $15 million from US-based venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global.