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Kalaari, Hike lead $5 mn Series A bet on vernacular gaming platform WinZO
Photo Credit: VCCircle

WinZO, a vernacular gaming platform, has raised $5 million (Rs 34.46 crore at current exchange rates) in its Series A funding round led by an early-stage VC firm Kalaari Capital and messaging platform Hike.

WinZO, which is operated by The TickTock Skill Games Pvt. Ltd, allows its users to play games for real-world monetary benefits. The platform currently offers games such as carrom, cricket, 8 Ball Pool, Fantasy Leagues and Trivia.

Paavan Nanda, co-founder of WinZo, said the company’s social multi-player skill gaming platform is a one stop entertainment destination for Bharat.

The startup will use the capital to acquire gaming content and will hire and strengthen its staff, Nanda told VCCircle. He said the company’s goal is to reach 40 million users by March next year, and also increase the number of games on its platform from current 30 to over 100.

“We are also looking to go live in additional local languages and create multiple social-gaming related activities for our vernacular audience,” Nanda added.

Separately, Kalaari Capital principal Rahul Garg said WinZO’s team has achieved a strong product market fit which has the potential to disrupt the vernacular entertainment space. Hike founder and chief executive officer Kavin Bharti Mittal added that the company was confident of its investment because of the startup’s unique product.

WinZO was co-founded by Paavan Nanda and Saumya Singh Rathore. Nanda, who is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta, was also a co-founder of budget hotel room aggregator ZO Rooms. While Rathore is an alumnus of University of Manchester, and has worked with companies including ZO Rooms and the Times Network.

WinZO, which currently offers over 30 games in ten languages, says it has over seven million registered users. The company claims that the average time a user spends on the app per day is more than 55 minutes.

Investors

Kalaari’s assets are worth $650 million. Some of its investments include software-as-a-service platform Hiver, used-cars marketplace Truebil, vernacular knowledge-sharing platform Vokal and agricultural technology startup AgNext Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

The Kavin Mittal-founded Hike, which launched in 2012, has raised over $250 million in funding. In August 2016, it raised its fourth round of funding of $175 million led by China’s Tencent and Taiwan’s Foxconn at a valuation of $1.4 billion. It has acquired and acqui-hired startups such as Creo and the InstaLively Livestreaming Pvt. Ltd-owned social networking app Pulse.

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