Game developer Nazara buys majority stake in edutainment studio Paper Boat Apps
Nazara founder Nitish Mittersain (left), Anshu Dhanuka and Anupam Dhanuka

Nazara Technologies Ltd has acquired a majority stake in Paper Boat Apps Pvt. Ltd, a Mumbai-based edutainment studio that is the latest in a string of acquisitions as the mobile game developer continues to buy projects across the globe.

In a statement, Nazara said it had acquired a 51% stake in children-focused Paper Boat through an investment of Rs 83.5 crore ($11.66 million at current exchange rate). The pre-money valuation of the startup stood at Rs 154 crore, Nazara said in its statement.

Paper Boat develops and offers Kiddopia, a subscription-based edutainment app that offers several interactive games and activities that help in a child’s cognitive development, self-expression and social-emotional learning. 

Nazara founder and managing director Nitish Mittersain said the company would help Kiddopia with its network of over 100 million users. “Kiddopia offers a positive alternative while bringing high-quality, curated educational content packaged within an entertaining framework that keeps kids healthy and parents happy,” he said.

Paper Boat co-founder and CEO Anupam Dhanuka said the investment by Nazara would help the firm grow its team as well as strengthen its market share in the United States and expand to high-value markets including Japan and those in Europe and Latin America. “The leadership at the two companies have very similar DNA and our goals are well-aligned,” Dhanuka said.

Paper Boat was founded in 2013 by Anupam Dhanuka and Anshu Dhanuka. The company says Kiddopia has been consistently ranked among the top five applications in the children’s category on the US App Store, and that it has been downloaded over 2.5 million times, with over one lakh active subscribers. Paper Boat says Kiddopia is advertising-free and that it adheres to privacy and safety standards.

The acquisition is the latest by Nazara, which has a presence in several countries thanks to its bets in the mobile gaming segment. The WestBridge Capital-backed company has acquired several mobile gaming projects from emerging markets around the world, including India, West Asia and Latin America. It also recently invested in NZWorld Kenya Ltd to help set up real-money gaming operations in Kenya.

Last month, it acquired a majority stake in Delhi-based SportsUnity Pvt. Ltd, a gaming platform that operates online multiplayer quiz service Qunami. The acquisition was part of SportsUnity’s funding round of Rs 7.5 crore (about $1.05 million).

In May, the company invested in vernacular social contests platform Bakbuck, which said it would use the investment to enhance product development and acquire new users. In March, Nazara was part of a Rs 40 crore Series A investment in fantasy sports startup HalaPlay Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

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