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How Dream11 became a billion dollar startup
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Dream11 is an Indian fantasy gaming app that lets the users earn money using their love for sports. Let's read through the story of their success.

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An Introduction to Dream11

Sports is a delightful leisure time activity and passion for many. You will most likely know many individuals who go obsessed with watching or playing sports. Similarly, there are tons of youngsters who love gaming more than anything else. So what do you get when you incorporate both these fun activities into one? The answer is a success. That is precisely the tactic used by Dream11 (1), which helped them to become a billion-dollar company. Dream11 is an Indian gaming company that offers various types of fantasy sports like cricket, football, hockey, basketball, and kabaddi.

Using this platform, you can create a group of virtual players based on real-life players who will be participating in an upcoming match. The scores are gained based on how these team members execute their skills in the games. Many joined contests are also carried out in which the users are ranked based on their scores. The ones with the best points can make it to the top of the winner list. If you are a person who has an eager enthusiasm for sports and can get most of your foretellings right, then Dream11 is the app for you. Most of the games on Dream11 are completely free of cost, but if you want to enter into cash prize content, you need to pay for registration. The only demand is that users need to be at least 18 years old. Your profile should also be verified using a valid PAN.

Dream11 was created in 2012 by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth. It is a small team of around 150 dedicated individuals. Six years after the platform was initiated, Dream11 had more than one million registered users. The company is a member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and the founding member of the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming. They have earned their place as a top brand in the Indian fantasy gaming industry. More than the traditional reliance on technology, marketing, etc., Dream11 focuses on being natural and learning from their mistakes.

 

The journey of Dream11

Harsh Jain

The founder of Dream11, Harsh Jain was a strong fan of sports himself. During the rise of the Indian Premier League, Harsh started looking for fantasy cricket platforms online. He was stunned to discover that there was not one accessible fantasy gaming app for cricket in a country where 800 million individuals are lifelong enthusiasts of this game. Harsh realised that there would be a large market for such platforms with the huge popularity that cricket has in India. This was his inspiration for developing Dream11. Harsh knew a lot of people who often made casual predictions that turned out to be precisely correct.  If folks were able to make cash using their understanding and closeness with sports, it would be a massive bang.

However, Dream11 had to face a lot of challenges in the early years. The biggest one was finding a reliable source of funding. Harsh Jain had approached more than 150 investors who refused to commit. Nevertheless, he learned something new from every rejection. This helped him to make the business strategies better and improve his ideas. According to Harsh, the success of a business depends more on the execution of an idea than the idea itself. Very few startups in India were born from an authentic idea. Most of them have been modified and altered along the way. 

A significant boost for Dream11 was the lack of competitors in this field. Fantasy gaming was an idea that most people would be attracted to and it was the only startup in India that executed it. It allowed them to actually use their skills and take part in their favorite games instead of just being a spectator. Since Dream11 entered really early into this field, they have gained more than enough experience by this time. They hope to expand their services in the following years into other areas of sports. Dream11 will soon become a common name for all sports fanatics in India. 

 

Major investments

The most prominent investors in Dream11 are Steadview Capital, Tencent Holdings, Kalaari Capital, etc. The process of gaining investors was not a smooth me for Dream11. They struggled to find investments for the first two years. The series A round of Dream11 was led by Kalaari Capital in December 2014. This funding was really helpful as they soon reached a larger user base of 50 million users. Kalaari Capital has also assisted them with hiring, development of strategies, and scalability.  In 2015 and 2017, they conducted series B and Series C rounds of fining réspectively in which they received an undisclosed amount of funding. 

In September 2018 a series C round of funding was conducted and Dream11 received a funding of 100 million dollars from Tencent Holdings. Soon after the latest funding from Steadview, the net worth of the company stood at more than one billion dollars thus making it a member of the Unicorn Club. 

 

The partnerships and ambassadors of Dream11

The first partnership of Dream11 was in 2017 when they entered into a partnership with Hero Caribbean Premier League and Hero Indian Super League. In November 2017, they became partners with the National Basketball Association(NBA), the famous professional basketball team of the USA. The NBA launched their official fantasy game through the platform of Dream11. Thus they had acquired an excellent reputation among football, cricket, and basketball enthusiasts. In the same year, the famous Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle signed up as their brand ambassador. 

Later in 2018, they received more partners such as ICC (International Cricket Council), International Hockey Federation, Pro Kabaddi League, BBL, and WBBL. Soon after this partnership, they extended their activities to cover hockey and kabaddi as well.

Dream11

Dream11 was also an official partner of the VIVO Indian Premier League in March 2019. They also joined hands with seven famous cricketers and seven franchises of the Indian Premier League. The fantasy game of IPL is being leveraged by Dream11. Currently, their brand ambassador is Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the popular cricketer, and former Indian team captain. They introduced a ‘Khelo Dimaag Se’ campaign in 2018 which turned out to be highly successful. 

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Nidhia Sebastian is an English literature graduate who looks forward to a career that complements her passion. Her never-ending love for language has brought her to creative writing. Having an open heart to knowledge is what leaves her with a thirst to explore the world. She believes in living life to the fullest and hopes to convey the same enthusiasm through her words.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article have been curated for our audience and does not warrant a 100% accuracy. All the information mentioned in the article is subject to change according to the changing viewpoints. Feel free to reach us at [email protected] for any change or copyright issues.

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Nidhia Sebastian
Nidhia Sebastian
Nidhia Sebastian is an English literature graduate who looks forward to a career that complements her passion. Her never-ending love for language has brought her to creative writing. Having an open heart to knowledge is what leaves her with a thirst to explore the world. She believes in living life to the fullest and hopes to convey the same enthusiasm through her words.

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