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Gaming startup MPL set to become next unicorn after $95 mn fundraise

The coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown in 2020 has provided a fillip to an already-booming esports industry in India and the world.

Startup | gaming industry | Fundraising

Peerzada Abrar  |  Bengaluru 

Illustration: Ajay Mohanty

Mobile Premier League, Asia’s largest e-sports and mobile gaming platform is now valued at $945 million after raising $95 million in a Series D round. The round was led by Composite Capital and Moore Strategic Ventures, with participation from Base Partners, RTP Global, SIG, Go-Ventures, Telstra Ventures, Founders Circle and Play Ventures.

The total capital raised by MPL since its inception in 2018 now stands at $225.5 million. The Bengaluru-based firm's valuation had reached to about $450 million after raising $90 million from investors in last year in September, according to the sources.

MPL will use this fresh influx of funds to expand its esports portfolio and bolster its efforts to organize more such esports tournaments nationally and internationally at scale. The funds will also be used to accelerate MPL’s international expansion this year.

“As we grow our presence and expand, this fresh round of funds will help us focus on our core value propositions - a robust platform with the best features for gamers and onboarding the best esports titles,” said Sai Srinivas, co-founder, and chief executive of MPL. “The esports community in India is thriving, and we believe this is the perfect time to take Indian-made games to the world as well as help Indian gamers get recognized for their talent.”

The MPL gaming platform has over 60 million users in India and over 3.5 million users in Indonesia. With over 50 games across categories on its Android and iOS applications currently, MPL has worked with 28 game developers to publish their games on the platform and provide them with a new revenue stream.

“As an industry leader in the gaming market, we believe the company will continue to innovate and drive the evolution of esports, both in India and internationally,” said Kanush Chaudhary, managing director, Composite Capital.

The coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown in 2020 provided a fillip to an already-booming esports industry in India and the world. MPL said it is at the forefront of democratizing esports in India and Indonesia, with initiatives such as the College Premier League (CPL), which was India’s biggest mobile esports festival. CPL saw participation from over 13,000 gamers and more than 100 colleges in India in November-December 2020, with Rs one crore in prizes and scholarships.

“As we double down on our investment in MPL, we are eager to see it increasing its international footprint and becoming a global leader in the mobile gaming and esports industries,” said Eduardo Latache, partner, Base Partners.

Last week, MPL also announced raising $500,000 from existing employees under its 'employee investment plan' which saw participation from 10 per cent of the company’s employees.

“We are thrilled to have Composite Capital and Moore Strategic Ventures as new partners,” said Joe Wadakethalakal, senior vice president, corporate development and investor relations, MPL. “We look forward to working with them as we continue to build a global gaming business out of India.”

Earlier, MPL had signed Indian Cricket Captain Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador and sponsored two top Indian Premier League (IPL) teams - Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore. It had also bagged the presenting sponsorship of reality TV show Bigg Boss, anchored by Bollywood superstar Salman Khan.

With approximately 300 million gamers, India sits among the top five gaming markets globally. Further, there has already been a boost in online gaming in recent months, as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on society. With social distancing measures in place, telecommuting becoming the new norm, and physical sporting events remaining limited, e-sports and mobile gaming has received a boost.

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First Published: Thu, February 04 2021. 14:42 IST