India: Paytm to invest in Rooter Sports’ pre-Series A funding round

FILE PHOTO: A worker adjusts a hoarding of Paytm, a digital payments firm, in Ahmedabad, India, January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave

One97 Communications Ltd, the parent company of Paytm, plans to invest ₹5 crore in sports fan engagement platform, Rooter Sports Technologies, as part of its pre-Series A round, according to two people aware of the deal.

Adidas’s family office-run leAD sports accelerator and early-stage fund Anthill Ventures will also participate in this round.

Founded in 2016 by Piyush and Dipesh Agarwal, Rooter Sports Technologies is a sports social community platform which allows sports fans to get access to specifically curated content in their own preferred languages.

Apart from cricket, football and multiple other sports, Rooter allows gaming fans to live stream their games and also connect and share the best game videos with other gamers through voice and video features.

Rooter, at present, has close to 5 million fans who spend close to 24 minutes daily on the platform, according to its website.

Rooter and Paytm did not respond to email queries.

This strategic investment is in line with Paytm’s gaming arm, FirstGames, which it launched in January 2018 as a joint venture with AGTech Holdings Limited, a Chinese gaming and entertainment company. Paytm rebranded the gaming platform to FirstGames, last year.

“This is a strategic investment clearly. Content and gaming go hand in hand, Paytm FirstGames has a fantasy cricket gaming strategy and a lot of users do research on players and typically these individuals go to forums like Cricbuzz or forums. But maybe with this strategic investment Paytm Games and Rooter can look at an integration, where users can play games and get information, and connect to a community of sports fans on a single platform,” said one person, who didn’t wish to be named.

A second person said for Paytm FirstGames, Rooter can act as an acquisition channel where users interact and consume content about various players before participating in fantasy cricket matches on Paytm FirstGames.

In May last year, Paytm FirstGames had said it had garnered more than 30 million users and announced the launch of fantasy sports for cricket lovers and card game enthusiasts.

Earlier this month, Paytm First Games announced its entry into Esports with SuperCell to bring the globally popular ‘Clash Royale’ Esports tournament to India. Around then Paytm Games has said it sees more than half a million daily active gamers on the platform, spending anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes per session.

In March, when the lockdown to curb covid-19 was announced, Paytm FirstGames also claimed that it had witnessed over 75,000 new users joining the platform every day.

This article was first published on livemint.com

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.