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Sports matchmaking using computer vision; The rise of venture debt funding

Game Theory is a sports-tech startup that helps users find players who match their skill level. In 2023, venture debt emerged as a popular way to raise money among startups. CIEL Group has acquired Mumbai-based upskilling startup Courseplay.

Sports matchmaking using computer vision; The rise of venture debt funding

Wednesday March 06, 2024 , 5 min Read


There's some respite for Indian apps.

Google is temporarily restoring apps that it removed from the Play Store due to non-compliance with payment policies. This comes after a group of startups approached the Competition Commission of India to order Google to reinstate the apps.

In other news, the RBI has given full authorisation to Infibeam Avenues to operate as a payment aggregator (PA) for its CCAvenue gateway. It joins Amazon Pay, Mswipe Technologies, Juspay, and Zoho which recently received a PA licence.

Also, the central bank has directed JM Financial Products to cease and desist from doing any form of financing against shares and debentures, including sanction and disbursals of loans against IPOs, after it found “serious concerns on governance issues”.

The move follows the RBI’s crackdown on Paytm Payments Bank and IIFL Finance.

Speaking of Paytm, the Financial Intelligence Unit has imposed a fine of Rs 5.49 crore on Paytm Payments Bank and said it failed to put in place an internal mechanism to "detect and report" suspicious transactions and was unsuccessful in conducting due diligence on its payout service.

Elsewhere, Swiggy has signed an MoU with IRCTC to deliver pre-ordered food on trains in select railway stations. The service will start in Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, Visakhapatnam, and Vijayawada. It is likely to expand to 59 additional city stations in the coming weeks.

And lastly, as Facebook and Instagram experienced outages, netizens had a field day on X (formerly Twitter).

Take a look at some of these hilarious memes.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Helping sports players find opponents
  • The rise of venture debt funding
  • CIEL Group acquires Courseplay

Here’s your trivia for today: What is the world’s spiciest chip, often sold individually in a coffin-shaped box?


Helping sports players find opponents

As adults, finding someone to play with who has the same proficiency in the sport can be challenging. Founded in 2018, Game Theory is a sports-tech startup that helps users find players who match their skill level in a particular sport. 

The Bengaluru-based startup currently offers athletic matchmaking for badminton, swimming, and squash.

Playing smart:

  • Game Theory first measures people’s skill levels on the court through the computer vision technology available on its smart courts.
  • Its app allows users to track their performance besides booking games and courts. It also enables users to post the recording of their match on social media.
  • To build on its matchmaking abilities, Game Theory recently acquired, a sports analytics company that automates data collection.
Game theory

Funding Alert

Startup: mPokket

Amount: Rs 500 Cr

Round: Debt

Startup: Ema 

Amount: $25M

Round: Equity

Startup: Educational Initiatives (Ei)

Amount: Rs 166 Cr

Round: Equity


The rise of venture debt funding

During a panel discussion at TechSparks Mumbai, Blacksoil Capital's Ankur Bansal, Alteria Capital's Ankit Agarwal, and Nuvama Asset Management's Pranav Parikh explained that companies that have grown fast have used venture debt to fund their growth.

"We feel these [EV and climate tech] are areas where there are huge capex (capital expenditure) requirements involved, especially on the EV side," said Bansal.

Funding growth:

  • In 2023, venture debt emerged as a popular way to raise money among startups. The segment saw a 50% increase last calendar year to touch $1.2 billion, according to a report by Stride Ventures.
  • "Debt is supposed to complement equity and not substitute... too much of debt can actually harm the business... you need to be careful to see how much debt to raise and if the debt is serviceable," Bansal advised.
  • "For early-stage companies, you need customised capital...and I think that's what venture debt does. Venture debt is evolving with very nuanced use cases," Parikh added.
Venture Debt ts


CIEL Group acquires Courseplay

HR solutions provider CIEL Group has acquired Mumbai-based upskilling startup Courseplay for an enterprise value of $2 million in a mix of cash and share swap.

Key takeaways:

  • As a part of the deal, CIEL Group will partly acquire Courseplay Founder Arjun Gupta's stake along with the complete stake of its largest external investor, Inflection Point Ventures.
  • Gupta will continue as the CEO of Courseplay. After the integration with CIEL HR, 30 employees of Courseplay will join CIEL HR.
  • CIEL Group now aims to raise a pre-IPO institutional investment round from HDFC Bank and Ambit Capital for organic as well as inorganic growth as part of its expansion roadmap.
Sociochat Communications Private Limited acquires Webforce labs

News & updates

  • "Special ire": Four former Twitter executives, including former CEO Parag Agrawal, sued Elon Musk, claiming the billionaire owes them more than $128 million in unpaid severance after he fired them over email shortly after he took over the social media giant.
  • Bull run: The price of bitcoin has set a record high, rising above $69,000 on crypto exchange Coinbase, a level first touched on November 10, 2021. A continuing massive wave of buying by the newish US-based spot bitcoin ETFs is the likely catalyst behind the historic run.
  • Name and shame: SpaceX has launched MethaneSat, a washing-machine-sized satellite, which aims to identify the worst methane polluters in the oil and gas industry. It will provide the first near-comprehensive global view of leaks of the potent greenhouse gas and all of the data will be made public. 

What is the world’s spiciest chip, often sold individually in a coffin-shaped box?

Answer: Paqui Carolina Reaper chip.

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