Indian gaming startup WinZO gives $12m exit to early investor Hike through share buyback

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Social gaming platform WinZO, on Monday, said it has provided a complete exit to early investor Hike Pvt. Ltd, through a share buyback for $12 million.

Through the buyback, Hike has received a four-fold return on its investment in the gaming company, WinZO said.

Hike, along with Kalaari Capital, had led Winzo’s $5-million series A round back in July 2019.

The news comes after WinZO had raised close to $18 million in series B funding, led by existing investors including co-chair of Bain Capital and early investor in Epic Games, Stephan Pagliuca; Singapore-based Makers Fund; and New-York based, Courtside Venture in September 2020, taking the total fundraise tally for the three-year-old startup to $38 million.

Earlier this year, Hike had announced shutting down its primary messaging business and launched a conflicting gaming app Rush, similar to WinZO. Post its series B, WinZO had reportedly waived the non-compete for Hike alongside withdrawing access to the board and the company.

Last month, Hike also appointed Manav Arya as head of its online gaming platform Rush. Arya had previously worked with Junglee Games, Paytm First Games, Octro and The Walt Disney Co.

“As founders, we are super chuffed and humbled to have a board that is extremely bullish, and completely aligned with the audacious goals we have set for ourselves. They had immensely supported the company through the process,” said Paavan Nanda, co-founder of WinZO.

WinZO offers more than 80 games in more than 12 regional languages, including Candy Crush, Metro Surfer, Carrom, Chess, Ludo, and Pool.

Since inception, the company claims to have a registered user base of more than 40 million users with a strong foothold in tier-II cities and rural India.

Last November, WinZO also announced the launch of its second game developer fund of a total corpus worth $5 million to groom aspiring game creators through structured training programmes.

Apart from gaming projects, the firm was also focusing on game ops, streaming, e-sports, related proposals, through its second fund.

The article was first published on livemint.com.

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.

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.