India-based online gaming startup, MPL has raised undisclosed funding from investors led by Legatum Capital with participation from Gaingels LLC and Accrete Capital. The funding round also saw participation from existing investors RTP Global and Moore Strategic Ventures LLC.
MPL will be using the fresh infusion of funds for its global expansion, drive continued growth in the Indian market, and invest in homegrown technology. The startup has its offices in Jakarta, Singapore, and New York as well.
Headquartered in Bengaluru, this three year old startup connects game publishers with players through its app platform. MPL’s users in Indonesia, the US, and India can access numerous free titles starting from Sudoku, puzzles, speed chess to fantasy & strategy games to shooting. The users can also participate in gaming contests and tournaments that offer prize money. MPL in just three months of the launch garnered 600,000 active users.
Mobile Premier League’s motto is to draw gaming buffs- earn money and get popular by playing mobile games.
According to Sai Srinivas Kiran, founder of MPL- “Gaming is the only entertainment content where language is no barrier.” He added, “Gaming startups can transcend international boundaries.”
Presently, Mobile Premier League has about 80 million active users, out of which about 10 million spend money on MPL’s platform. Its user count has touched a 5 million mark in Indonesia. While in the US, MPL targets 300,000 users and about $100 million in GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) by this year-end.
One of the world’s largest markets for game downloads, India witnessed 840 million installs in June as per Sensor Tower, an app metrics data firm. While China is clamping down on its gaming companies, Indian gaming platforms are looking for expansion in India and beyond.
Global investors from Tiger Global to Sequoia Capital which backs Dream11, India’s first gaming unicorn and MPL’s rival, are seeing the opportunity offered by India’s 400 million gamers. The country has an affinity with online games with monetary rewards, something which online startups like MPL are betting on.
MPL was launched just as cheap internet data, affordable smartphones, and reliable digital payment infrastructure was driving the growth of online mobile gaming.
In 2019, MPL became a broadcast partner for the Indian Premier League, a hyper-popular cricket competition and signed Virat Kohli as their brand ambassador. The overflow of new signups was so huge that the 40-person team of MPL had to struggle to cope up.
The founders braced for a setback as COVID-19 pandemic hit the country last year. However, the gaming companies along with online retailers and streaming services turned out to be big beneficiaries of stay-at-home restrictions and lockdown. In 2020, the companies invested more in gaming than in the last five years, according to the Head of Media and Entertainment at KPMG, Girish Menon.