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Business

Game Streaming Platform Rheo TV Raises $2 Million

Rheo TV, an online e-streaming and community platform, raised USD 2 million in an investment round led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, Lightspeed and other angel investors.

“With this fundraise, Rheo is looking at product and content development and to hire new talent,” said Saksham Keshri, Co-founder and CEO, Rheo.

They are looking at building an entertaining platform for mobile gamers, where gamers will be able to chat with each other, build communities and engage over gaming content. The platforms will allow game streamers to create stream channels that will enable them to monetise their gaming skills and passion.

Saksham adds, “Online gaming is rarely viewed as a platform that strengthens social engagement. At Rheo we want to change that. Our mission is to redefine the gaming industry in India by using streaming channels as a way to create communities and encourage conversations – for both professional and hobby gamers. The ultimate goal is to make online gaming as entertaining and engaging as Cricket and Bollywood in India – with an added layer of monetisation.” 

Co-founders of the Edtech startup Unacademy, Gaurav Munjal, Hemesh Singh, Roman Saini, and Dinesh Godara are among the angel investors who invested in Rheo TV. Other angels include Anushray Gupta (CTO Cuemath), Prashanth Mallik (Advisor in Zomato), Phanindra Sama (Founder, RedBus), Mahesh Narayanan (Ex-Linkedin Country manager, Ex-Google Mobile Country Head, Ex-MD Saavn) and Ranjit Radhakrishnan (CPO, Byju’s), as reported by YourStory.

Rheo TV was founded by Saksham and Prakash Kumar in August 2019. The two founders had earlier co-founded Mojo Times, which is a video news platform for independent journalists. Saksham has also built teams and products at various fast-growing startups like Unacademy and JioSaavn. Prakash has worked as a product Engineer with companies like Unacademy and Cuemath.

Rheo TV platform was launched about five months ago and it already has over 5000 streamers. Its streamers generate more than 900 hours of live content in over five regional languages. Over 100 games like PUBG, Call of Duty, GTA 5 and Free Fire are streamed online on Rheo TV.

As the gaming industry in India is rising in value, more and more investors are entering the market to back platforms catering to Indian gamers. Some of the big players who have invested recently in the industry are Alibaba, Tencent, and Nazara.

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Business

MPL acquires machine learning company Crevise Technologies in cash+stock deal

Online skill gaming and esports platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) has announced that it has acquired Pune-based product engineering consultancy firm Crevise Technologies in a cash and stock deal.

Founded in 2016 by Mukta Aphale and Atul Aphale,  Crevise Technologies is focused on providing end-to-end product engineering consultations. The startup has expertise in DevOps, Machine Learning, and Full Stack Development.

The company has stated that it aims to utilise Crevise’s experience in DevOps and reliability engineering to make its platform more robust, agile, and reliable for its users. Post this acquisition, founders of Crevise Technologies will lead the 10-member MPL team from Pune.

The gaming platform also added in a statement that it had earlier collaborated with Crevise Technologies with the objective of improving performance and operational efficiency of its platform.

Speaking on the acquisition, Shubham Malhotra, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of MPL said, “As a fast-moving company, we are in a continuous deployment mode. We needed a strong team of DevOps engineers to move the delivery capacity up swiftly. Before deciding to bring Crevise Technologies onboard as a part of the MPL team we had a great stint working with them as a client partner. While working with them, we also noticed synergies in work ethics, team values, and cultural fitment, that led us to move towards this acquisition. The team brings their rich end-to-end product engineering capabilities to the table and we are excited to build MPL together.”

Founded only 10 months ago, MPL has been aggressively increasing its presence in the online gaming space in India. The company recently announced that it had expanded its platform into South-East Asia with the launch of MPL Indonesia.

Few weeks ago, MPL closed a US$35.5 million Series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital, Times Internet and Indonesian transportation company Go-Jek’s investment arm, GoVentures. The company has Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and cricketer KL Rahul as its brand ambassadors and has more than 25 million registered users on its platform.

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Business Gaming

MPL raises $35.5 million in Series A funding round led by Sequoia India, Times Internet and GoVentures

Galactus Funware Technology Private Limited, the company that operates real money skill gaming, fantasy sports and esports platform  Mobile Premier League (MPL) has confirmed that it has received US$35.5 million (around Rs. 248.5 crores) in a Series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital India, Times Internet (part of the Times of India Group) and GoVentures (the investment arm of Indonesian tech startup Go-Jek), with participation from other investors including RTP Global, BeeNext, Base Growth, and Venture Highway.

The company has stated that the funds will enable the mobile gaming platform to invest in product and user growth in India.

Commenting on the development, Sai Srinivas Kiran G, co-founder and CEO of MPL noted, “Our goal is to build India’s largest Mobile eSports Platform which is accessible to all. MPL today provides users access to all formats and types of competitive games. Like with everything else, Competitive Gaming in India will be mobile first and MPL wants to be the platform of choice for the user. In the 7 months since launch, the user love we have received is testimony to that. We are thankful and excited to have investors who share the same bold vision.”

“Sequoia India is very happy to back Sai and Shubh a second time, and believe solidly in their vision of creating the largest esports platform for India and other emerging markets,” said Shailendra Singh, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore. “We’re thrilled with the early progress at MPL. With their industry leading growth and engagement metrics, MPL has the potential to become a major mobile internet company in India.” he added.

“MPL has captured the imagination of gamers on smartphones like no other platform out there. Skill based competitive casual games are highly engaging social experiences, and we believe MPL will be a leader in this category globally” said Miten Sampat, Vice President Corporate Development, Times Internet.

Sequoia Capital and other investors had invested US$5 million in MPL in November 2018 in a Pre-Series A round. It was speculated in the media for the last couple of months that Go-Jek, Times Internet and Sequoia Capital are likely to close a Series A funding round in MPL.

Founded last year by technology entrepreneurs Sai Srinivas Kiran Garimella and Shubham Malhotra, MPL allows users to participate in real money contests and tournaments of various skill games such as fruit chop, monster truck, space breaker, sudoku, virtual cricket etc.

The company claims to have surpassed 25 million downloads of its app in a short span of less than one year and had recently signed up Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador.

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Business

Sequoia Capital & others invest $5 million in skill gaming mobile app MPL

Venture capital firm Sequoia Capital has led a US$5 million (around Rs. 35.1 crore) Series A funding round in Galactus Funware Technology Pvt. Ltd., the company that operates digital skill gaming startup app Mobile Premier League (MPL).

As per an exclusive report in VCCircle, Sequoia Capital led the funding round and some other existing angel investors also participated in the exercise. The funds will be used by MPL to expand its operations and build its product.  The valuation at which the company received the funding has not been revealed.

Founded by technology entrepreneurs Sai Srinivas Kiran Garimella and Shubham Malhotra, MPL allows users to participate in tournaments of various skill games such as fruit chop, monster truck, space breaker, sudoku etc.

Users are awarded real cash for winning the tournament and winners can immediately cash out their prizes through Paytm, UPI or bank transfer.

MPL claims to be the largest real-money mobile e-sports platform in the world and according to Google Playstore, the MPL app has been downloaded more than 1 million times.

At present, users can participate in the MPL tournaments using tokens and it is understood that players do not have to deposit own entry fees to participate in the games, although it is not clear whether this would continue be the business model of the company, going forward.

Apart from mobile games, several other startups have started offering real money quiz contests and other puzzle-based games for real money under the skill gaming category. In 2014, Sequoia Capital had invested around $15 million in a Series A funding round in  another mobile teenpatti and social gaming company, Octro.