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Sports community platform Rooter scores pre-Series A money from Paytm, others
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Rooter Sports Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which operates an eponymous social platform for sports fans, has raised $1.7 million (Rs 12.87 crore at current exchange rates) in pre-Series A funding.

Key investors in the round include digital payments firm Paytm, Delhi-based Rooter said in a statement on Monday.

The Adidas family-backed accelerator leAD Sports, Rockstud Capital and Founder Bank Capital, the early-stage arm of RB Investments, also invested.

Existing backers Anthill Ventures, Venture Catalysts and some angel investors also participated in this round.

As part of the deal, Rooter has entered into a tie-up with Paytm First Games to integrate their gaming and content ecosystems.

Rooter said it will use the capital to grow its user base and capitalise on its upcoming e-sports and gaming content communities. It will also launch user monetisation channels, which will add to its advertising revenue.

Paytm First Games chief operating officer Sudhanshu Gupta said the company was confident of its investment in Rooter because of its user community and the potential of the integration with Paytm’s own offerings.

Rooter was set up by Piyush and Dipesh Agarwal in 2016. The company says it engages enthusiasts with user-generated live audio and video content in at least ten Indian languages across several sports.

The firm completed the leAD Sports Accelerator Programme in 2018. In January last year, it raised Rs 1 crore from Anthill Ventures. Before that, in August 2018, the startup raised Rs 4.5 crore in a funding round facilitated by startup accelerator and incubator Venture Catalysts. In October 2016, Rooter raised an undisclosed amount from actor Boman Irani and a couple of other individual investors.

New Delhi-based Ahlawat and Associates acted as the legal counsel to Rooter for the pre-Series A investment.

Investors

Anthill Ventures is a Singapore-based early-stage investment and scaling platform. It also maintains offices in Hyderabad and New York. Other companies in Anthill’s portfolio include Ketto and Spareshub.

Venture Catalysts was set up in 2015 by Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Anuj Golecha, Anil Jain and Gaurav Jain. Its investment spree has continued unabated despite the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The startups it has backed this year include dietary supplement brand Power Gummies, insure-tech venture Insurance Samadhan, prayer materials supplier OM Bhakti and artificial intelligence-enabled helmet maker Altor.

Rockstud Capital was founded by angel investor Abhishek Agarwal. VCCircle reported earlier that the VC fund would back both startups as well as listed companies. Firms in its portfolio include Everest Fleet, Smartvizx and Cubical.

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