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Time To Up Your Game With This Platform Zupee creates engaging, language-agnostic games that can be accessed by everyone, everywhere

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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The 2021 global gaming market will generate a revenue of $175.8 billion and is projected to exceed $200 billion by the end of 2023, according to a report by Newzoo (via VentureBeat). More than half of this revenue will come from mobile gaming, the largest segment of the market.

In 2020, mobile games accounted for $77.2 billion in revenue with a 12 per cent increase in players to 2.5 billion, and the momentum doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon.

With much of the world practicing social distancing for much of 2020 and into 2021, interest in this multibillion-dollar industry has continued to increase, with people who have never had an interest in gaming taking up the hobby. Unprecedented free time allowed players the opportunity to develop new skills and techniques that may one day be televised as part of an e-sports competition as popular as any Super Bowl or World Cup final.

The global mobile games market generated $7.6 billion from player spending across the App Store and Google Play in July 2021, marking an increase of 7.2 per cent year-over-year. July 2020 was the second-best month for mobile games revenue last year, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, with only December seeing higher player spending levels, showing the market continues to sustain 2020s outsized growth.

Just as gamers at all levels push the boundaries in the games they play, they also expect developers to use new techniques and emerging technologies to push the gaming experience forward, bringing the games closer to reality and more challenging than ever. Online gaming platform Zupee is generating technology that is paving the way for the future of gaming.

Zupee chief executive officer and founder Dilsher Singh Malhi, in an interview with Entrepreneur India, said, "I learned early that dealing with day-to-day life can be stressful. I wanted to change that by bringing happiness to as many people as possible. So, I founded the company with Siddhant Saurabh, as the co-founder in 2018 with one objective in mind: entertaining and engaging people. We are taking time-tested Indian games, and re-engineering them for mobile devices for everyone to enjoy. Our games are built on scientific principles to help in learning through engagement and entertainment. Thus, each game can be fun as well as an opportunity to learn.

The focus of the brand is to create original and locally made mobile games, transforming into a global publishing hub, housing a talent pool of developers, artists, animators, audio-visual experts, and backend analysts, in addition to democratizing game development and evangelizing the sector, according to the founder.

In the first three years, the platform has served more than 10 million users with the company seeing a 100 per cent user growth in 2020. The pandemic resulted in people getting isolated due to lockdown restrictions and they looked up to the startup's games for stress relief and productive entertainment. The company has also seen interest from investors and has raised $49 million in the first four rounds.

At Zupee, the aim is to create engaging, language-agnostic games that can be accessed by everyone, everywhere while entertaining them. By making their games competitive and skill-based, they are also turning gaming into a learning experience, making the internet a place for productive engagement. The platform places mission-like importance on bringing positive and engaging experiences to its users. Relying on knowledge across a host of topics, strong returns, high user engagement, and sound tech, Zupee has been winning hearts and minds in a game of skill, the company claimed.

As India's fastest growing digital skill-based gamification company, Zupee is at the forefront of the industry and now holding a new vision to become one of the biggest gaming companies offering competitive online games of skill in the social and casual skill-based segment we already lead the pack, it further claimed.

Zupee has raised $30 million in a Series B round led by Silicon Valley-based WestCap Group and Tomales Bay Capital, at a pre-money valuation of over $500 million. Existing investors Orios Venture Partners and Matrix Partners India also participated in this round.

The Seed funding was utilized for establishing Zupee operations, hiring quality talent, developing Zupee' s flagship product, Zupee Gold, and expanding in the market. Furthermore, the previous funding was used to scale up the venture, expand market reach, enhance user penetration for Zupee' s platform, and focus on delivering an exceptional and truly rewarding user experience. Consequently, they have expanded their user base by 100 per cent in the pandemic and aim to continue on their growth path.

The online gaming industry has become a sunrise sector and according to KPMG estimates, it will be a $3.9 billion opportunity by 2025 with 657 million gamers in India. With increasing interest in the gaming sector, investors are looking to invest in the right companies. Homegrown startups and entrepreneurs are being encouraged to develop new products that can transform lives. The gaming sector is a great place to be right now. Not only because it is booming, but also because it is helping put a smile on a billion faces amidst the worst crisis the world has seen in the last century.

Malhi believes that with the sector-wide open, it is witnessing a surge of competitors with their own value proposition. However, there are not many competitors who are approaching online gaming through the lens of skill-based gaming and redefining learning experiences. As of now, the company intends to hold the pole position in the segment of social and casual games of skill. In the wider gaming segment, there are around 1500 independent developers and more than 250 gaming companies in India.

"Our flagship game, Zupee Gold is available as a mobile app and can be downloaded from the official website. All our games are available on their respective websites. Our strongest support comes from our very loyal and engaged users. Cutting across platforms we have over 30 million users," he said while commenting on the distribution of the platform.

The company is constantly on the lookout for games that have been a part of our culture, traditions and family engagement. Games that are time-tested and enjoyed by millions in the traditional form are then converted into competitive mobile games that can be enjoyed on smartphones with data connectivity. As the games are light, language-agnostic, and popular, they aren't targeting a particular segment, rather, everyone, everywhere can enjoy their games.

"We also constantly research the latest scientific methods in improving motor neural abilities, life skills, and agility through games to make the entertainment we offer productivity for our users. We are most committed to our users and are currently the first gaming company in India to be certified against the skill games charter," Malhi explained.

The startup will also be expanding into new product lines which harness the twin levers of knowledge and technology and work towards rediscovering and reengineering the lost and forgotten games of India. It aims to re-author and revisits the success that the Indian IT industry has seen through the 90s while unlocking incremental economic value and harnessing the very important aspects of soft power and cultural diplomacy winning both hearts and minds of users in India and across the world using technology for good.

"To begin with, we will be focussing on new games, acquiring new users, and expanding to new markets. We are also looking to double our workforce to help us achieve our ambitious targets," he further shared

Prabhjeet Bhatla

Former Staff

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