The Indian gaming industry is exploding, no matter how you look at it.
As the most populous country in the world, India currently has 500M gamers (casual and competitive) growing 12% annually, and a total market that is expected to surpass $8.7B by 2027. India’s proportion of New Paying Users (NPUs) is growing at the fastest rate of any country in the world: rising from 40% in 2020 to 50% in 2021, and transaction-based games in India saw revenue increases of 26% on average during the year.
India’s macroeconomic conditions are also adding fuel to this gaming trend. In the last five years, disposable income has increased ~45% per capita. At the same time, access to reliable internet and mobile phones has risen rapidly and has been supported by the cheapest data rates in the world ($0.1/GB).
The unprecedented surge in Indian gamers, willingness to pay for games, and underlying macroeconomic tailwinds have all contributed to industry growth that is unrivaled by many other markets and geographies in the world.
It is for these reasons that Courtside has looked to India as a key area of focus and why we are thrilled to announce our investment in Eloelo, the #1 live social gaming and entertainment app in India. Courtside led the company’s Series A round alongside Griffin Gaming Partners.
From the moment we met the team, it was clear to us that Eloelo is pioneering a new form of entertainment in India. Eloelo brings together a unique combination of live streaming, social gaming, and creator-hosted events in a viral gaming app suited perfectly for local Indian culture. By offering a suite of easy-to-play games, advanced creator tools for live streaming, and an overall app design that prioritizes community, the platform has seen unrivaled growth within the Indian social gaming landscape.
With over 40M community members playing games together while live streaming, Eloelo fit our long-held investment thesis perfectly. As previously written about back in 2020, Courtside has firmly believed that the next generation of social networks would revolve around games. As the proliferation of mobile phones, affordability of high speed data plans, and popularity of gaming has bolstered the Indian entertainment ecosystem, Eloelo is well positioned to benefit from these tailwinds and become the next major social media app built via gaming.
While our investment in Eloelo enters a new class of social gaming via live-streaming, it isn’t our first foray into India. Courtside began to identify India as a market of interest for sports and gaming in 2019. We made our first investment in WinZO in Q3 of 2020 and have completed all 6 of our investments in the country within the last 3 years. Given the aforementioned population growth and overall GDP growth in the region, we have taken a diversified approach to portfolio construction in the India gaming ecosystem. Courtside’s investments include real-money gaming, social gaming, sports (cricket), gamified investing, interactive social networking, and web3. These include WinZO — Real-Money Gaming Platform, FanCraze — Sports and Collectibles, Totality Corp — Social Gaming Experiences, IndiGG — Publishing Platform, and Fello — Gamified Savings.
With our most recent investment in Eloelo, Courtside will continue to partner with exceptional founders and funds in India backing the next generation of sports and gaming companies. We are incredibly excited about the future of gaming in India and the diversity of opportunities ahead.