Leo Capital leads pre-Series funding for gaming firm Bombay Play
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Early-stage venture capital firm Leo Capital has led a $1.5 million (Rs 11 crore) pre-Series A round of funding in gaming company Bombay Play.

Angel investor Ramakant Sharma, co-founder of Livspace, also contributed in this round, the company said in a statement.

The funds will be used primarily for hiring more professionals.

"In a young country with half of the population below the age of 25, a company like Bombay Play has the potential to bring in fresh and exciting gaming content," said Dinesh Singh, venture partner at Leo Capital.

Bombay Play was launched in early 2018 by gaming entrepreneurs Abhas Saroha and Oliver Jones. 

Jones previously co-founded Moonfrog Labs and directed games at Glu Mobile and Zynga. Saroha led engineering at Zynga, Moonfrog Labs, and MakeMyTrip.

"India is on a rocket ship trajectory to becoming one of the top game development hubs of the world," said Jones.

Bombay Play has amassed 10 million downloads in its first year for its signature game Card Party. Last December the Pokémon Company also announced that it would partner with Bombay Play to publish games on Facebook.

Leo Capital has built a portfolio of 14 companies since its launch in 2017. Tech is the common denominator for the venture capital fund that has invested in software-as-a-service companies, consumer-focused ventures, logistics, and fintech startups.

Its portfolio includes startups such as road transport marketplace Vahak, diabetes management app BeatO, women’s community platform Sheroes, and edtech startup Edureka.

Deals in the gaming segment

The rise of digital gaming’s popularity in India is largely due to the widespread use of smartphones. Many game developers are capitalising on rising smartphone usage to build their businesses, and some have scaled up rapidly and reaped dividends for investors.

Last year, Dream11 Fantasy Pvt. Ltd became the first unicorn in the space in India after Hong Kong-based hedge fund Steadview Capital completed an investment in the fantasy sports platform through a secondary share purchase.

In March 2020, The Economic Times had reported that several investors in the fantasy sports platform Dream11 are in talks to undertake a secondary transaction that may value it at $2.25 billion.

In December last year, Rein Games Pvt. Ltd, a real money-based skill gaming startup, raised Rs 5 crore in a seed funding round led by the family office of Ranjan Pai and Titan Capital, a venture capital firm.

In September, mobile games developer Nazara Technologies acquired a majority stake in Delhi-based SportsUnity Pvt. Ltd, a gaming platform that operates online multiplayer quiz service Qunami.

In the same month, LivePools Pvt. Ltd, a startup whose online platform offers fantasy games based on skill, raised funding from Dan Bilzerian, a professional poker player and Instagram influencer.

In March last year, Mumbai-based fantasy sports startup HalaPlay Technologies Pvt. Ltd had raised Rs 40 crore ($5 million then) in a Series A round from mobile game developer Nazara Technologies Ltd and casino gaming company Delta Corp. Ltd.

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