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Despite pandemic and bans, Dream11 keeps up its scorching growth

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Madhav Chanchani

121 reads
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Madhav Chanchani

121 reads

The Mumbai-based unicorn has levelled up in fantasy gaming while keeping new well-capitalised rivals, like Mobile Premier League, at bay. It is now generating a record amount of cash, a rarity in India’s internet consumer space

March 23, 2022

9 MINS READ

2021 was not an easy year for India’s young fantasy-gaming industry. 

First, the T20 league IPL was suspended midway because of the Covid surge in May. The real-world sporting action tends to be the biggest driver of revenue and user sign-ups for online platforms. It resumed in September after infections fell, but this was cold comfort for most startups.

“The momentum had been lost. Usually, the maximum number of users are acquired in the first two weeks of IPL and they play for another six weeks,” said an industry executive. 

There was further turmoil when Tamil Nadu and Karnataka banned real-money games, including online rummy, and fantasy sports, prompting concerns that this might lead to similar measures elsewhere in the country. Before being overturned, the moves disrupted popular platforms’ business in the two states. But there was one outlier. 

Dream11 continued to grow at a faster clip than well-funded challengers such as Sequoia-backed Mobile Premier League, Games 24x7’s My11Circle and Paytm First Games, all of which entered the space three to four years ago. Though they have started taking a part of the market share, Dream11, founded by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth in 2008, is still the dominant player. 

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