MPL bags Rs 250 cr from Go-Jek Arm, Sequoia, Times Internet


BENGALURU: Go-Ventures, the investment arm of Go-Jek, one of Indonesia’s most valuable tech startups, along with Sequoia India and Times Internet have led a $35.5 million or Rs 250 crore, investment round in domestic mobile gaming company, Mobile Premier League (MPL).

This also marks Go-Jek’s maiden financial investment in India, after having acquired three local companies to boost its technology and engineering talent.

Other investors, including RTP Global, BeeNext, Base Growth, and Venture Highway also participated in the round. The development was first reported by ET in December last year.

“Our goal is to be a global platform where any user can choose a game and play tournaments, and at the same time build infrastructure and distribution to enable the gaming developer community,” said Sai Srinivas Kiran G, CEO of MPL.

Kiran founded the company last year with Shubham Malhotra after selling their startup Creo to messaging app Hike.

The funds will enable the newly launched mobile gaming platform to invest in product and user growth in India.

Currently, MPL hosts 25 gaming developers on its platform which it plans to expand to 100 by the end of the year and launch in global markets. The company works with developers on a guaranteed upfront payment model, which it plans to eventually move to revenue sharing once it scales up.

A source familiar with the development said MPL, which had raised $5 million in October as part of its Series-A round at a $12-13 million valuation, has picked up the new capital at a ten-times higher multiple, valuing it at $150 million post the latest round.

“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, VP Corp Development, Times Internet — a part of The Times group which also publishes this paper.

MPL is an eSports platform where users participate in what it refers to as “skill-based game” tournaments, including cricket, puzzles, chess, crosswords among others, to win real cash and social gaming content. It claims to have more than 25 million app installs, making it one of the fastest growing real money mobile gaming platforms.

“With their industry leading growth and engagement metrics, MPL has the potential to become a major mobile internet company in India,” said Shailendra Singh, managing director, Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore. The online gaming industry in India, now pegged at $290 million, is expected to grow to $1 billion by 2021, according to a report by Google-KPMG.

This growth will primarily be driven by proliferation of lowcost smartphones among the urban and rural population, increase in the domestic game developer base and focus on local content with themes, even as the industry sees improved paying propensity by 2021.

Investors of fantasy gaming startup Dream11 sold a part of their stake to Steadview Capital earlier this month, valuing the company at about $1.1 billion.