Three sources familiar with the situation told me that India’s Mobile Premier League, or MPL, is in talks to acquire funds from a variety of investors, including the crypto exchange FTX, as the mobile gaming business prepares to make a web3 push.
As it prepares to extend its goods in a new, buzzy area, an investment will mark a dramatic shift in the Bengaluru-based startup’s future vision.
MPL has approximately 60 mobile games under its belt, including sports, card games, and fantasy games. It has notified certain existing and new potential investors in recent weeks that it wants to launch play-to-earn and NFT-based games later this year, according to the sources, who asked to remain anonymous because the discussions are still continuing and they are not authorised.
One of the sources said MPL, which already has Sequoia Capital India and RTP Global as investors, has been aiming to raise the new funding as a follow-on to its Series E deal, which is valued at $2.5 billion, according to one of the sources.
The terms of the investment could be altered, according to the sources. By the time of publication, FTX had not responded to a request for comment. As a business policy, we do not comment on rumours, “an MPL representative stated in a statement.
MPL said in a December investor presentation that I read that it has over 5 million monthly active “cash playing” users. According to the presentation, its average monthly revenue per user was around $5.
MPL stated in its presentation that it is developing “the game distribution platform of tomorrow,” with over 500 million tournaments played each month.
In India, a few well-established startups are starting to look into web3’s potential. According to TechCrunch, MPL’s main competitor in India, Dream11, is trying to spearhead a $100 million investment in NFT firm Rario. FanCraze, a cricket NFT business recently valued at $500 million in a round sponsored by Insight Partners, has announced plans to expand into gaming.
Last month, Glance, a subsidiary of the InMobi Group financed by Google and Jio Platforms, bought gaming platform Gambit in order to offer customers live game shows and NFT-based incentivization.
The planned investment in MPL would officially usher FTX, which is valued at $32 billion, into the Indian startup sector, where it has hitherto primarily participated through partnerships and sponsorships.
Coinbase, FTX’s competitor, has so far invested around $150 million in Indian startups, including the top two local cryptocurrency exchanges, CoinSwitch Kuber and CoinDCX. WazirX, which is owned by Binance and competes with the two Indian crypto exchanges,
Coinbase, a publicly traded company, announced on Monday that it aims to increase its local staff in India from 300 to 1,000 personnel. The company says it’s pleased to work with India’s vibrant software talent to develop its products, and it’ll continue to invest extensively in its India centre.