Gaming unicorn Dream11 in talks with SoftBank, Naspers, Tiger Global for $500 mn funding: Report

Gaming unicorn Dream11 in talks with SoftBank, Naspers, Tiger Global for $500 mn funding: Report
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: VCCircle
30 Aug, 2019

Online fantasy gaming startup Dream11 is in discussions with a number of top technology investors including SoftBank Vision Fund, Naspers Ventures and Tiger Global Management to raise approximately $500 million in a fresh round of funding, The Economic Times reported.

The deal is expected to value the Mumbai-based startup at $2-2.5 billion, the report said. 

The deal may entail a $300 million primary infusion and a $200million secondary sale by existing investors.

The round may see participation from more than one new investor while its existing backer Tencent has also shown interest in upping its stake in the company, the report said, citing unnamed sources. 

A deal will only materialise if the startup receives its asking valuation, the report added.

Dream11 saw 50 million users on the platform in February and plans to take that number to 100 million by the end of the year, according to the report. 

The company clocked a total transaction value of over $1 billion for the fiscal ended March 2019, surpassing its own projected target of $650 million.

Email queries sent to Dream11, SoftBank, Naspers and Tiger Global did not elicit a response till the time of publishing this report.

South Africa-based media company Naspers was in talks with Dream11 to buy a stake worth $100 million, Mint reported earlier. Post the 2019 cricket World Cup and Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019, Dream11 had sought a valuation of $2.5 billion, the report added.

Dream11 has officially partnered with International Cricket Council (ICC), IPL and National Basketball Association (NBA).

Run by Dream11 Fantasy, the company entered the unicorn club in April when Hong Kong-based hedge fund Steadview Capital joined its investor pool via a secondary transaction.

The company's announcement of becoming a unicorn — a privately held startup valued at over $1 billion — came a little more than a month after TechCircle first reported that negotiations were underway between Steadview and Dream11 for an investment that would value the gaming startup between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion.

Earlier, Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings had led a Series D investment of $100 million in Dream11. Venture capital firm Kalaari and private equity firm Multiples had also participated in the round.

Dream11 was founded in 2007 by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth. It runs fantasy leagues for cricket, football, kabaddi, basketball and other sports. The platform offers content in vernacular languages. 

The platform allows users to create virtual teams comprising real-life players and lets them organise a match based on statistical performances of those players in actual games.

Fantasy sports have had its brush with the law in the past but Dream11 and others in the segment received a shot in the arm in 2017 when the Punjab and Haryana High Court observed that fantasy games cannot be considered gambling as they require considerable skill and judgment.