This Second-Time Entrepreneur Is Bridging the Gap Between Game Developers and Users
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Blenders Pride Reserve Collection Presented Entrepreneur India's 35Under35 2020 list which includes some leading names from the field of entrepreneurship and Sai Srinivas Kiran G made it to the coveted list.
At 31, Sai Srinivas has already founded two successful start-ups. Creo, his first company which provided hardware for streaming, was acquired by Kavin Bharti Mittal’s Hike. His second company, Mobile Premier League (MPL), started in 2018, has already made a name for itself in the ecosystem. Both start-ups were co-founded with Shubh Malhotra.
Did he have a Eureka moment that led to MPL? “There were three key factors,” he says.
“Affordable, good quality smartphones, cheap data and Internet penetration, and a world-class payment infrastructure. Gaming needs device, data and payments. We realized there was no mobile platform that connected game developers to users. And hence we thought of bridging that gap.”
Having worked with Farmville-maker Zynga after his graduation, and since being fascinated by game design and virtual economies, he says MPL was like the culmination of it all.
In only two years, the company has 32 million registered users on its platform, with more than 5 billion gameplays. “Even if I am to only count cities where we have at least 1,000 users, we are still spread across 170-plus cities of which around 150 are tier II and tier III cities,” says Sai.
Last year, MPL raised a $35.5 million Series A round led by Sequoia India, Times Internet and GoVentures.
MPL is a mobile-first platform which provides a wide range of content such as gaming, quizzing, competitive exams and audio shows. The platform allows users to earn through their skills, content and art.
“I think we stand out for two reasons, our game developers trust us and we don’t judge our users but believe in catering to diverse demand with diverse products,” says Sai.
He feels learning from past experiences is important. “For example, it is very important to have the right product-market fit based on data, market conditions, research and logical reasoning,” he says.
Apart from that, Sai says he has learnt how essential it is to have a diverse team as part of his entrepreneurial journey.
“And we have tried to apply that at MPL. We have people from various professional backgrounds ranging from tech, consultancy and design to law and journalism. So it’s an amalgamation of creativity and process.”
Quite a Year!
For MPL, 2019 was “quite a year,” says Sai. “We launched in 2018, and in a year, towards the end of 2019, we were working with 15 gaming studios and developers as our partners.”
Ahead of the twelfth edition of the IPL, MPL roped in Virat Kohli, captain of Indian men’s cricket team and Royal Challengers Bangalore, as its brand ambassador.
Sai says, “As the MPL platform grew, we added new forms of content such as audio shows, organized India’s biggest online chess tournament—the MPL Chess Mahayudh—which saw Chess Grandmasters and International Masters participate.”
Going forward, he says the company hopes to carry forward the same momentum.
Plans For Growth
“To put it in a nutshell, we are now six or seven times as big as we were in March-April 2019 in terms of transaction volumes,” says Sai.
MPL is aiming to diversify the content on its platform to cater to everyone. “Gamers, game developers, audio and video creators and consumers, we want this to be a one-stop shop, all-encompassing content platform.”
In less than a year of launch in Indonesia, the company has managed to attain over a million users in the country and is optimistic of its growth story there as well.
“As regards profitability...we are now catering to diverse tastes and we believe that the way forward for a content-monetising platform like MPL is to add as much diverse content as we can, so we can cater to all users irrespective of their taste,” says Sai.