Livestream gaming startup Loco raises $42m to become India’s Twitch

Loco livestream gaming
Image by Sergei Elagin | Bigstockphoto

Indian game streaming startup Loco has raised $42 million in Series A financing to expand its business as it seeks to build an Indian version of Twitch and capitalize on the growing gaming community in the country.

The investment was led by South Korea’s early-stage venture fund Hashed and Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures. Makers Fund, Krafton, Lumikai, Korea Investment Partners and Hiro Capital also invested in Loco at a valuation of about $200 million, according to a report by Mint.

The development quickly follows eSports gaming platform Gamerji’s announcement that it raised $1.1 million in a Pre-Series A funding round led by Unicorn India Ventures. Previously, mobile-first gaming community platform Turnip managed to secure $12.5 million in a new financing round co-led by Greenoaks and Elevation Capital.

India’s online gaming industry is estimated to touch the $2.8 billion-mark by 2022 growing at a CAGR of 40%, as per Deloitte.

With the new funding round, Loco, which was acquired by Pocket Aces in 2018, has now raised around $51 million to date. Pocket Aces’ founders Anirudh Pandita and Ashwin Suresh currently run Loco.

The fund infusion will now allow Loco to further develop its streaming technologies, content creation and developing the gamer and creator ecosystem, the startup said in a release.

Livestreamed games are still relatively new in India unlike in countries like the US, South Korea and Japan where it is a mainstream form of entertainment. Indian users play and access livestreams mainly via their mobile devices, whereas console-based and PC-based gaming are popular in mature gaming markets.

Pandita told the publication that the startup’s daily user numbers have grown over 15 times since January of last year and live watch hours have grown nearly 80 times.

“India has 400 million gamers currently…younger Indians are spending a significant amount of time in the virtual world, and gaming is breaking urban and rural boundaries,” Pandita was quoted as saying in the Business Standard.

Loco has reportedly cornered 5.3 million monthly active users, 450,000 of whom use the service each day. A separate report by TechCrunch said that 45,000 gamers stream on the Loco app.

India is one of the most interesting gaming markets” and 40% of its gaming population belong to the 10-30 year age group that forms the bedrock of gaming and e -sports communities worldwide, Ethan Kim, co-founder and Partner at Hashed, said in a statement.

“We believe this new investment round will enable Loco to solidify its dominant position in game streaming and eventually provide the Indian gaming community with cutting edge Web3 products and services.”

Loco has teamed up with NBA, Logitech, and Red Bull to run India-focused esports programs. It has also partnered with game publishers like PUBG Corporation, Activision-Blizzard and Riot Games for licensing.

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