Loco, an Indian video game streaming platform, raised $9 million in its first round of funding from investors including South Korean gaming firm Krafton Inc. to capitalize on the rising popularity of games-based entertainment in the South Asian nation. Lumikai Ltd., India’s first gaming media fund, London-based d Hiro Capital, and early-stage investors 3one4 Capital and Axilor Ventures also contributed to the Mumbai-based startup’s seed round. Loco plans to utilize the cash to improve its technology and content, according to a statement released on Monday.
Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch and DouYu International Holdings Ltd.’s Huya Inc.’s. Hundreds of millions of people in India, which has little history of gaming on consoles or computers, resorted to their cellphones for amusement during the epidemic, giving the genre a boost. Before it was banned last year, Krafton’s PUBG Mobile, which was formerly sold in India by Tencent Holdings Ltd., was one of the most popular games in the nation. It is now re-entering the market.
In an interview, co-founder Anirudh Pandita remarked, “Cheap data plus affordable phones fostered an ideal scenario in India, producing a new genre of entertainment.” “These games have over 100 million monthly active users in India; picture a hundred million people playing a sport that no one is watching—what Loco set out to solve.”
Pandita and Ashwin Suresh met as engineering freshmen at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and formed Loco Interactive Pte, as the company is formally known. The two went on to work on Wall Street before co-founding Pocket Aces Pvt with Aditi Shrivastava, a digital studio that creates streaming content as an alternative to traditional television entertainment. According to the announcement, the game business would be split out from Pocket Aces with this financing. Shrivastava will remain in charge of Pocket Aces.
Loco has grown at a breakneck pace in the last year, with monthly active users up sixfold and monthly active streamers over tenfold. According to the firm, YouTube, which is owned by Google, is its primary rival right now. Loco’s roster includes some of the country’s most well-known streamers, who play games like Clash of Clans, FreeFire, and Call of Duty Mobile. It also hosts major esports teams and events, even though the genre is still relatively unknown in India. “India is putting a lot of emphasis on mobile games,” Suresh added. “India will undoubtedly produce the finest mobile gaming gamers in the world.”