Mobile gaming startup Nazara Technologies along with listed casino gaming company Delta Corp, have together invested Rs 40 crore in fantasy sports player, Halaplay Technologies. This is the startup’s Series A round of funding.

Nazara is an existing backer of the Mumbai-based company which also counts Kae Capital as a seed stage investor.

The gaming startup was founded by Swapnil Saurav, Prateek Anand, Ananya Singhal and Aman Kesari in January 2017, and has since raised an estimated Rs 7-8 crore till date. With the newly raised funds, Halaplay will push its marketing, product development and expand the team. The company saw 10x user growth in the last one year and looks to grow with over 1 crore active players in the upcoming cricket season, said the company in a statement.

While Nazara has been investing in segments like real money gaming, premium, e-sports and others, this is the home-grown company’s only investment in fantasy gaming space.

The segment is currently led by Tencent-backed Dream11 which has raised over $100 million and claimed to have clocked a user base of 50 million in February this year. Dream 11 has held talks with Hong Kong-based hedge fund, Steadview Capital, for a fresh round of investment which may catapult its valuation to $1 billion, as per a VCCircle story.

Around 100 million Indians will play fantasy sport by the end of this year, according to a joint report by Indian Federation of Sports Gaming and market research firm AC Nielsen.

Nazara has been an active participant in the M&A space, having spent an estimated Rs 130 crore, which have been a mix of investments and outright acquisitions. Its other investments include mobile gaming companies like Mastermind Sports Limited and Moonglabs Technologies among others. The 20-year old IPO-bound Nazara Games, is eyeing a valuation of Rs 3,000-3,500 crore. “Seeing the turbulent market conditions, we have now been advised to keep our IPO plan on hold. We expect things to pick up after May,” said Manish Agarwal, CEO of Nazara Technologies. The company which is present in 61 countries reported a topline of Rs 550 crore and profit of Rs 66 crore in fiscal 2017. According to reports, as of 2017-18, India’s online gaming industry is estimated to be Rs 4,380 crore and projected to grow at an annual compounded rate of more than 22% to touch Rs 11,880 crore by fiscal 2023.

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