Sports social gaming platform Rooter has raised Rs 1 crore from early-stage venture capital firm Anthill Ventures to fast-track growth ahead of this year’s Cricket World Cup.
The new round is part of the pre-series A round of Rs 4.5 crore that Rooter raised in August last year, its founder Piyush Kumar told FE Online.
“We raised this round because the pace of growth will be high this year with the upcoming world cup apart from IPL also which is just around the corner,” said Kumar.
Rooter is an engagement platform that connects sports fans with similar interests globally, allows them to predict scores, and play fantasy sports during the live game.
“For Anthill, Rooter is a classic example of an attractive investment in the media and entertainment space,” said Prasad Vanga, Founder & CEO, Anthill Ventures.
Kumar claimed that Rooter combines the fantasy gaming aspect similar to the US-based unicorns Draftkings, FanDuel and India’s Dream11 with the social network effect akin to India’s ShareChat in a single platform.
“It is a combination of social and gaming. There is no company in the world that puts both together. Also, we are the first live sports engagement company as other players don’t allow engagement while the match is going on,” Kumar added.
Rooter allows fans to engage in 7 different sports categories including football, kabaddi, hockey, badminton etc., apart from cricket in 8 Indian languages.
Kumar pegged the number of sports fans with smartphones in India to be around 100 million with close to 500,000 monthly active users on the Rooter platform.
If the smartphone penetration in India continues to increase at the current rate, thanks to Jio, a company in our market can expect a billion dollar valuation in the next four-five years, said Kumar.
India’s smartphone user base is expected to 829 million by 2022 from 404.1 million in 2017, said a study by Cisco’s Visual Networking Index in December last year.
The study predicted that 60% of India’s 1.35 billion population will be online by 2022 from just 27% in 2017.
Rooter is currently present in Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia apart from India and is looking at the UK launch around the world cup.
Digital sports startups have picked up significantly over last year led by a massive $100 million round raised by Dream11 from Tencent. Smaller startups that raised early-stage funding included GamingMonk, HalaPlay, Mobile Premier League, etc.