Fantasy sports platform Dream11 has joined India’s growing unicorn club, following Steadview Capital’s investment in the Mumbai-based domestic startup through the secondary route.
The investment by the Hong Kong and London-based firm marks the first time that an Indian gaming company has broken into the unicorn club, a list of privately-held consumer and technology ventures that are valued at $1 billion or more.
Three of Dream11’s existing backers — home-grown venture capital firm Kalaari Capital, private equity firm Multiples Alternate Asset Management and San Francisco-based hedge fund Think Investments — sold a portion of their stakes in the decade-old company, valuing it at $1-$1.5 billion, according to sources briefed on the developments.
The secondary deal is in the range of $60 million, sources said.
When contacted by ET, Dream11 chief executive Harsh Jain confirmed the development, but declined share details of the transaction.
“We are excited to welcome Steadview Capital onboard…Providing great returns to our shareholders, whether investors or Dreamsters, is very important to us and further reinforces their belief in Dream11. We will keep working hard and are targeting to end the year with 100 million users,” Jain said in a written statement.
Steadview Capital’s discussions with Dream11 were first reported by VCCircle in February.
The latest investment also comes about eight months after Dream11 closed a $100 million equity financing round led by Tencent, the world’s fifth-largest internet company, which ET first reported in its edition dated April 19 last year.That investment valued the company at about $500 million.
“We at Steadview believe that Dream11 is poised to become the leading sports company in India catering to everything a sports fan needs…The company’s phenomenal growth track-record, dominant leadership in daily fantasy gaming and strong engagement metrics is a testament to the consumer love for the platform,” Ravi Mehta, managing director of Steadview Capital, said.
For the fiscal year ending March 31, Dream11’s revenue rose almost 260% to Rs 228.4 crore on a loss of Rs 65 crore, according to regulatory filings.
The investment in Dream11 is Steadview Capital’s third transaction in the last four months. It invested $74 million in ride-hailing major Ola in January, while also leading a $50 million round in on-demand home services platform UrbanClap in December last year.
Dream11 was founded by Bentley University alumnus Bhavit Sheth and Jain, a University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University alumni.
Harsh Jain is the son of Anand Jain, a trusted advisor to Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, with the relationship between the two going back decades.
Investor interest in Dream11, which claims to have more than 50 million users on its platform and cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador, rose significantly after the company won a favourable judgement from the Punjab and Haryana High Court last year,
In his judgement, Justice Amit Rawal had said playing fantasy games required considerable skill, judgement and discretion, and that he held such games couldn’t be considered gambling.