- Gaming and entertainment operator Smaaash shuts down its centers following the outbreak of COVID-19 in India and the financial crisis.
Gaming and entertainment operator Smaaash shuts down its centers following the outbreak of COVID-19 in India and the financial crisis.
Notably, after March 25, the day when the coronavirus lockdown was enforced in the country, footfalls in the malls decreased considerably. Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar is Smaaash’s brand ambassador.
The company has sent emails to its workers, The Economic Times reported, informing them about the growth. “I’m sorry I failed in my attempts to save the company from its untimely demise, despite my best attempts,” said founder Shripal Morakhia.
Morakhia said in his email to employees that the investors had given the company their “word” to “fund” the company, but ultimately it did not result in the capital infusion leading to the company based in Mumbai collapsing.
“But it just did not materialize when it came to real funding,” he said. “I am saddened that a dream called Smaaash would have ended in this way.”
Two of the sources said that in recent months, Smaaash had been in urgent talks with investors to collect funds to keep the company afloat. They were trying to raise capital from investors, but nothing happened, “said the head of a mall that is home to a center in Smaaash and said the company told the shopping center about its decision to shut down.”
Smaaash controlled 41 such gaming zones spread over 650,000 sq ft of the entertainment area, including cricket, football, go-karting, bowling, and even virtual games with arcade games in 19 cities across India and one in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, beginning with an 80,000 sq ft gaming zone in Mumbai in 2012.
Smaaash highlights the problems facing brick-and-mortar retail, restaurants, and gaming operators, even as many online players are flourishing in the pandemic as a portion of Indian customers are drawn to everything from shopping to gaming online. On the other hand, online sports channels such as Dream 11 and rival Mobile Premier League invest top dollars as advertisers and sponsors during the latest edition of the Indian Premier League. Last week, Dream11, the title sponsor of the lucrative IPL tournament, revealed that it was raising $225 million in its most recent funding round.
Smaaash has investors, including Mauritius-based Sixth Sense Projects private equity and some individuals with high net worth. Fidelis World is another PE business that invested in the Mumbai-based gaming company in 2017.