Fantasy sports platform HalaPlay raises funds from Kae Capital, Nazara
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Mumbai-based fantasy sports platform HalaPlay has raised an undisclosed amount from early-stage investment firm Kae Capital Management Pvt. Ltd and mobile game developer Nazara Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

HalaPlay is a web- and mobile-based fantasy sports platform, wherein 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.

“Fantasy sports is a very large market with proven consumer demand and acceptance. We liked the way how HalaPlay achieved product-market fit as a bootstrapped venture. We also see Nazara’s participation as a valuable boost to the ambition of creating a global fantasy sports company,” said Shubhankar Bhattacharya, venture partner, Kae Capital.

Nazara has been actively pursuing opportunities in the interactive virtual sports category and has invested in a few companies. In August last year, it had invested an undisclosed amount in Moong Labs, a developer of 3D cricket simulation games.

In April 2016, Nazara had invested an undisclosed amount in London-based mobile games studio TrulySocial, and had picked up a 26% stake in another city-based mobile gaming studio Mastermind Sports, which launched CricBet, a real-time prediction game.

The mobile entertainment company has also partnered with local and global mobile game developers, such as Stick Sports, to create mobile games around physical sports.

In November 2016, Mumbai-based Nazara had said that it may opt for a public listing in 2018. Around the same time, social media giant Facebook Inc. had launched its Facebook Instant Games feature, which allowed users to play games with messenger contacts.

HalaPlay is Kae Capital’s second investment in the gaming space. In July, it had invested an undisclosed amount in Bengaluru-based gaming startup Hypernova Interactive.

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

In June, Goa-based Casino Pride Group has bought a 30% stake in OceanKing Software Solutions LLP, the Mumbai-based company that owns and operates online gaming startup Baadshah Gaming, for an undisclosed amount.

In April, online gaming firm Ace2Three had raised $73.7 million in a fresh round of investment led by Canadian private equity firm Clairvest Group.

The same month saw Bengaluru-based mobile gaming startup Mech Mocha Game Studios Pvt. Ltd raising $5 million in a Series A round led by venture capital firms Accel Partners and China’s Shunwei Capital.

Earlier, Udupi-based gaming startup 99Games Online Pvt. Ltd had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Japanese investment firm Dream Incubator. Existing investors Ascent Capital and Kalaari Capital also participated in the round.

In November last year, mobile gaming startup PlaySimple Games had secured $4 million in a Series A round led by SAIF Partners and IDG Ventures India.

In September 2016, mobile games publisher Flixy Games Pvt. Ltd had raised $425,000 in seed funding from Japan-based venture capital firm Rebright Partners.

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 current online gamer base of 120 million is also expected to swell to 310 million, with localisation, rising digital payments and better smartphone penetration driving growth, the report, titled Online Gaming in India: 2021, said.

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