Gurugram startup Witzeal enables skill-based real money gaming for 30M Indian users
In 2017, Gurugram-based, which offers 17 developed in-house, skill-based real money games (RMG) in cards, fantasy, and casual segments, had its breakthrough after launching its flagship product — the Big Cash multi-gaming platform.
Started in 2017 by Ankur Singh, Witzeal is a new-age gaming startup that specialises in futuristic games and features in the real money gaming (RMG) segment, which requires players to think strategically before making a move in the game.
“For instance, we have recently launched a skill-based ludo game that eliminates the rolling of the dice, making it a skill-based game. We are also an active member of the All-India Gaming Federation (AIGF) and follow the self-regulation skill games charter that covers all aspects of the online business process,” Ankur, CEO and Founder, Witzeal, tells YourStory.
Wizteal offers card games (Poker, Rummy, and Call Break) and casual games (Car Race, Fruit Chop, Soccer, Egg Toss, Knife Hit, 8-Ball Pool, Bulb Smash and more). It also offers Cricket, Football, and Kabaddi in the fantasy gaming category.
“We have around 70 percent users playing casual games and around 30 percent players in card and fantasy games. We are also witnessing more users between the ages of 25 and 45, with increased participation from female gamers,” Ankur says.
The online gaming startup operates pan-India except in states where RMG is not permitted. Most of its users belong to Tier II and III cities from states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, etc.
A gaming enthusiast and a software engineer, Ankur wanted to replicate his childhood favourite game of smashing bulbs with a catapult into an online game.
This desire pushed Ankur to start, and with a team of five members, the startup launched its first game Bulb Smash in 2017. At present, Witzeal has a team of 65 members.
To stay ahead of the curve, Witzeal has innovated its products to provide a distinct gaming experience (video calling, VIP access, gifting, etc.). Its in-house built games enable a personalised gaming experience for players while maintaining a high level of security, increasing user trust in the product.
In 2019, the online gaming startup had 7.80 lakh users, and in over two years, it has grown to more than 30 million.
With one of the lowest size apps, Witzeal competes with Winzo, Paytm First Games, and MPL, to name a few.
The Indian online gaming industry has about 400 gaming companies. Additionally, the sector sees cut-throat competition with new technologies and increased awareness.
“The major difference between our competitors and us — they can spend heavily on marketing and branding as they have raised capital, whereas we have remained bootstrapped. Thus, we are looking at optimising our spending to ensure continuity in our EBITA growth,” Ankur explains.
Funding and monetisation
Bootstrapped with personal savings of about Rs 5 lakh, Ankur claims Witzeal had clocked Rs 140 crore in revenue in FY 2021. In FY 2019, it had reported a revenue of Rs 3 crore.
“We charge 10 percent of the total amount a user pays for a game as our fees. Card and fantasy games constitute a major part of the startup’s revenue generation,” shares Ankur.
He adds, “We are planning to touch Rs 200 crore with about Rs 35 crore PAT (profit after tax) for FY 2022. We have managed to become a profitable entity since our first year of inception.”
The way ahead
According to the latest EY-FICCI report, India’s online gaming segment grew 28 percent reaching Rs 101 billion in 2021, with the real money gaming (RMG) segment contributing over 70 percent of the industry revenues.
Moreover, the total number of online gamers in India has increased by 8 percent to 390 million in 2021, and by 2023, it is anticipated to surpass 450 million.
“The market is expanding at a rapid pace, and I believe, any player who is willing to work hard would have the opportunity to co-exist in this space,” Ankur says.
According to him, the sector faces two major challenges — internal and external. “In case of internal challenges, we need to attract and retain talent,” he says.
Adding, “From an external perspective, we have to garner users on our platform, and with Google’s policy of not allowing RMG apps on its Play Store, it is very challenging. Thankfully, our organic user growth is wonderful, which reflects our hard work on launching games and engaging users.”
Witzeal claims to have partnered with OTT and UPI platforms like Disney Hotstar, MX Player, Google, Facebook, Wynk Music, PhonePe, etc., to increase its user base and reach out to a larger audience.
Talking about the future plans, Ankur says, “We are keen to explore opportunities in Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Digital Assets, and introduce them to our users.”