Existing backers may pour more money in fantasy sport platform HalaPlay
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Mumbai-based fantasy sports startup Halaplay Technologies Pvt. Ltd is in line to secure $5 million (Rs 40 crore) in a Series A funding round, two people privy to the development told TechCircle. Existing investors Kae Capital and Nazara Technologies are slated to lead the round.

The deal is expected to close at a post-money valuation of $15-20 million and investors are expected to pick up an additional 20-25% equity stake with the fresh fund infusion, said one of the people cited above on the condition of anonymity. HalaPlay declined to comment and email queries to Kae Capital and Nazara Technologies did not elicit a response at the time of publishing this report.

TechCircle could not ascertain the identities of the new investors in the round at the time of publishing this report. However, new investors from the domestic market are likely to join the round and the deal itself is expected to close in a couple of months, said the second person cited above.

“Their football and kabaddi games are giving them a lot of traction, therefore, they plan to diversify into other spaces. The company is planning to spend heavily to acquire more users as the season of short-form cricket league IPL (Indian Premier League) and ICC Cricket World Cup is about to begin. Their strategy will be to carve out a larger share in the market by creating new features,” said the second person.

HalaPlay is an online, mostly mobile-based fantasy sports platform, where players can create teams, enter leagues and win cash prizes. It allows sports enthusiasts to play cash-based games, such as cricket, football and kabaddi, across different formats. It employs data analytics and machine learning to help users draft teams, analyse playing behaviour and improve fantasy skills.

Founded by Swapnil Saurav (chief executive), Prateek Anand (financial chief), Ananya Singhal (operations chief) and Aman Kesari (product chief), the company launched its operations in January 2017. The firm makes revenue by taking up to 15% commission of the pool size for every game on their platform and claims to have more than two million registered users.

The company had in November 2017 raised an undisclosed amount from early-stage investment firm Kae Capital Management Pvt. Ltd and mobile game developer Nazara Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

According to a joint report by Google and KPMG, India’s online gaming industry is expected to reach $1 billion by 2021 from the current $360 million, growing at a brisk 20% per annum.

The online gaming space has seen some investment activity over the past few months.

Fantasy sport has had its brush with the law. But Dream11 and others in the space received a shot in the arm last year when the Punjab and Haryana High Court observed that fantasy games cannot be considered gambling as they require considerable skill and judgment.

Following which, last month, Dream11 vaulted into the big league of local mobile gaming startups when it raised $100 million in a Series D round led by Tencent Holdings, China’s biggest gaming and social media company.

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