Popularly known as MPL, founded by IITian just 3 years ago was sailed in the fall of 2018 and within few months hit 6 lacs daily active users. Mobile Premier League became India’s second gaming unicorn, raising capitals at a $2.3 billion valuation after the pandemic started entertainment-starved purchasers toward mobile playing.
This Bengaluru-based startup raised capital from investors driven by Legatum Capital with support from Accrete Capital and Gaingels LLC. Current investors Moore Strategic Ventures LLC and RTP Global also engaged in the round. MPL didn’t reveal the deal yet but people connected with the deal saying they had raised $150 million.
This three year old company appends game publishers with players on their app. Dozens of free titles are available for users playing in India, the US, and Indonesia. Some of them are Speed chess, puzzles and shooting, and gaming contests to win exciting prizes through multiplayer tournaments as well. Their motto is to bring fans- earn money and go popular by playing mobile games.
India is definitely one of the biggest markets globally for game downloads with 840 million installs in June, stated app metrics firm Sensor Tower. MPL initially reached 3 million registered users since its launch in June 2019. This is solid growth if we compare it.
“Gaming is the only entertainment content where language is no barrier,” founder Sai Srinivas Kiran, 33 and an IIT Kanpur graduate, said in an interview. “Gaming startups can transcend international boundaries.”
Global investors from Sequoia Capital to Tiger Global Management, which backs India’s first gaming unicorn and MPL rival Dream11, are observing the opportunity presented by the country’s 400 million gamers. Indians have an affection for games with financial prizes, something online startups like MPL are wagering big on.
MPL had an outstanding start. Kiran and fellow founder Shubham Malhotra tested their idea for paid-entry gaming contests by arranging sessions on their apartment’s rooftop — the initial participants were cooks employed by the founders and their friends. Each player got a device loaded with the games, and after each hour-and-a-half long gaming competition, their rankings were updated on a chalkboard. Word soon got out, and as the number of participants grew the duo introduced a 5-rupee (7 U.S. cents) entry fee and a winner-takes-all prize. “Within weeks, the rooftop could no longer accommodate the rush of gamers,” Kiran said.
The app began just as affordable smartphones, cheap internet data, and reliable digital payment infrastructure was fueling the extension of mobile gaming. The startup’s initial backers included Sequoia Capital and Moore Strategic Ventures; Kiran and Malhotra had previously founded and sold hardware startup Creo, helping them attract backers for MPL.
The startup intends to keep adding fresh games and extend to a half-dozen more geographies within three years. It’ll also focus on attracts viewers, with the aim of reducing the cost of obtaining new gamers.
“Young India will make gaming so mainstream that one day soon gaming could become more popular than watching movies,” Kiran said.