Mobile Premier League, valued at $2.3 billion, is India’s latest unicorn

Esports and skill gaming start-up Mobile Premier League (MPL) on Wednesday become India’s newest unicorn, raising funds at a whopping $2.3 billion valuation in Series E financing. MPL last raised $95 million in Series D funding at a valuation of $945 million.

While the size of the investment wasn’t revealed, the investment round was led by Legatum Capital with participation from existing investors including Sequoia, SIG, RTP Global, Go-Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures, Play Ventures, Base Partners, Telstra Ventures, and Founders Circle Capital.

MPL was launched in the fall of 2018 and within three months hit 600,000 daily active users. The app launched at a time when affordable smartphones, cheap internet data, and reliable digital payment infrastructure were accelerating the rise of mobile gaming.

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At present, the Bengaluru-based start-up has about 80 million users, of which about 10 million spend money on the service. In Indonesia, its user count has shot up to 5 million. In the US, where it launched in July, it is poised to cater to 300,000 users and clock over $100 million in gross merchandise value by the end of the year. 

The company aims to utilize the funds raised add more geographies, invest in technology, and crystallize its position in the Indian market.

“This investment is a recognition of the potential of the Indian gaming and esports industry and an endorsement of the capability of MPL to expand globally. MPL’s proven success in India and Indonesia encouraged us to launch in the US, one of the world’s largest gaming markets. Our US operations are off to a promising start and we’re thus fulfilling our resolve to make our platform the esports and gaming hub of the world” said Sai Srinivas, co-founder, and CEO, MPL said.

“Legatum’s investment in MPL is another example of our strategy to invest in world class teams building world-scale companies that define categories and serve customers with integrity” said Legatum CEO Mark Stoleson who has joined the company board in the same interview.

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In April, MPL had acquired New Delhi-based firm GamingMonk to sink its teeth deeper into the esports avenue by launching Esports Arena that hosts fortnightly Esports tournaments in some of its marquee games such as Chess, WCC, and Pool among others.

After Dream 11 which had scored a 400 million dollar secondary funding round led by TCV, D1, Capital Partners, and Falcon Edge in March earlier this year, MPL is the second gaming unicorn in the country.

India is currently the largest market for game downloads across the world with 840 million installs in June, according to app intelligence firm Sensor Tower and it is expected to grow even further in the years ahead.