If the digital revolution has made our lives easy with online food ordering, cab-hailing, and ecommerce, it has also made a difference in crucial sectors such education, healthcare, and infrastructure. But all work and no play is no fun, and a crop of entrepreneurs have found great success with their online gaming and sports startups.
So much so that this trend has given way to a lucrative virtual gaming industry that is expected to be valued at $1 billion by 2021. And make no mistake, this is not confined only to the metro cities: increased access to mobile technology and internet connection across India has catapulted growth across the country.
And women too are staking a claim to this lucrative industry. Not only are they rising as promising gamers with famous gaming avatars but there are women leading at the helm, defining the trends.
Meet the women putting their skills to good use and making the best out of this booming world of virtual gaming:
Keerti Singh, Hitwicket
Keerti Singh turned entrepreneur in 2015 and co-founded Hitwicket, a cricket strategy game. However, online gaming has been part of her routine since her BTech and MBA days.
Even while working at Amazon in operations, she not only turned to her phone to play a game but also got her colleagues hooked as well.
Now her own gaming platform is engaging gamers on phone with nearly 2.1 million organic downloads across more than 100 countries, with users spending more than 32 minutes per day on the game. Notably, the Hyderabad-based startup has garnered attention from over 200 Indian towns and cities and was selected by Google Game Accelerator – an Asia programme in 2018 - among the “Hi-growth potential” gaming startups.
Harsha Sachdeva, Funnearn
Harsha Sachdeva co-founded the RMG platform Funnearn in October 2018. Available both on Android and iOS phones, users can enjoy simple, one-minute games based on basic cognitive skills. One can also compete with other players of same skill level and earn money by winning the games. They are available in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, and Tamil languages.
Targeting users between ages 18 and 40 across India, it claims to be gaining 150,000 new users every month. The startup has made Rs 40 lakh in revenue so far. Unlike her co-founders, Harsha was never an enthusiast gamer. However, her previous experiences as a software designer have played a critical role in launching Funnearn.
Neha Pandey, LeagueSX
Neha Pandey was a market research analyst with EY until she decided to team up with her husband, Anshul Agrawal, to start up in the gaming industry. They founded fantasy football platform LeagueSX in 2016, which banks highly on the fan community and emotion towards the various football teams.
Users can select players and create their own sporting franchise and participate in various virtual matches. They also stand a chance to win cash prizes, customised merchandise, jerseys, PlayStations, and even an all-expense paid trip to watch their favourite teams live in stadiums in Europe.
In July 2018, LeagueSX raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Prashant Malik, Co-founder of Limeroad and Hongkong-based football investment firm GHKEE, among others.
Arpita Kapoor, Techmocha
IIITM Gwalior alumna Arpita Kapoor ventured into the virtual gaming industry when she started Mech Mocha in 2014, with her college mates.
Just one year into the business, the Bengaluru-based startup raised funds from Blume Ventures and Flipkart and, later, from Accel Partners and Shunwei capital. Lucknow native Arpita and her team are tapping into the local opportunities and building games in regional languages, more than for metro cities and the global markets. Some of their regional games that have shown great success include Chhota Bheem, Jetpack Joyride, and Hello Ludo, among others.