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Mobile Premier League became a new unicorn in mobile esports, raising a round of funding at a valuation of $ 2.3 billion. The Bengalaru, India-based company offers mobile esports games in which gamers compete in skill-based games for price. GamesBeat confirmed through a source that the amount raised was $ 150 million.
The company launched in July in the US and aims to reach 300,000 players and $ 100 million in gross merchandise value by the end of the year. MPL did not say how much money it raised, but a source familiar with the deal said it had raised $ 150 million in the unicorn’s valuation. (Unicorns are startups with valuations in excess of $ 1 billion.)
The three-year-old company provides access to free mobile games like 8-Ball Pool and Fruit Chop. Players can enter free contests or participate in real money battles and tournaments.
Legatum Capital led the round, with participation from Accrete Capital and Gaingels. Existing investors, including Moore Strategic Ventures LLC and RTP Global, also participated in the round. The financing comes after MPL raised $ 95 million at a valuation of $ 945 million in February. Legatum CEO Mark Stoleson joins MPL’s board of directors.
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MPL’s entry into the US market came a couple of years after it started mobile gaming operations in Indonesia. It now has more than 85 million registered users around the world.
CEO Sai Srinivas said in an interview with GamesBeat that he started out as a game designer and was a product manager in San Francisco at Zynga. He started a hardware company in India and sold it in 2018. Then he started MPL with Shubh Malhotra. The company has grown to more than 900 employees in various countries in just three years.
“We realized that in a world where everyone will probably be connected and everyone will have a mobile phone with them, we should be targeting the mobile platform,” Srinivas said. “We had a simple value proposition that players would install a single app and find a ton of games where they could compete with millions of people in tournaments and win prizes. That struck a chord with many players. “
MPL is on the Apple App Store and includes games like Solitaire Cube, Spider Solitaire, Bingo, 21 Puzzle, Bubble Shooter, Block Puzzle, Bowling, Baseball, Pool, and Fruit Chop. The platform has more than 80 games.
Most of the players are between the ages of 20 and 35. When asked about getting 81 million players, Srinivas said: “It has a lot to do with the right time and place. With India in 2018, it was at a point where a significant number of Indians were connecting. “
Earlier this year, MPL acquired Gaming Monk to develop a full suite of esports and live streaming capabilities. In early September, the platform announced a partnership with Play Magnus Group, founded by chess superstar Magnus Carlsen. With this partnership, MPL will host the official Indian Circuit for players to qualify for the Meltwater Champion Chess Tour.
The United States is an important market, with gamers spending an average of 12 times more than Indians, Srinivas said. That’s why you want to focus on the US market right now.
“As much as I would love to go all over the world, it is important for us as a young company to take one step at a time,” he said.
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