Nazara Success Story - Tracking the Growth of India's Largest Mobile Entertainment Platform

Sarika Anand Sarika Anand Anik Banerjee Anik Banerjee
Aug 2, 2022 16 min read
Nazara Success Story - Tracking the Growth of India's Largest Mobile Entertainment Platform

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Nazara.

When it comes to online mobile gaming, India is known for having the largest number of players, and the Indian gaming industry is growing every year. It is currently valued at over $1.027 billion, as reported in 2020. As the market for games among the smartphone generation grows, so does the rivalry among gaming production companies.

Nazara is one of India's most prominent sports and gaming media companies. In countries including India, Africa, and Singapore, the company is a well-known mobile content platform provider and game publisher. The games on World Cricket Championship and the Motu Patlu series are some of the most recognizable games of Nazara. The current top-grossing smartphone titles of Nazara include the Oggy game and the Chhota Bheem game series for kids.

This article will give a complete insight into the Success Story of Nazara Technologies. Along with it, we will also help you take a glance at Nazara's Business Model, Nazara Technologies company details, Funding, Revenue model, "How it started?", Acquisitions, Investments, and more.

Nazara - Company Highlights

Startup Name Nazara Technologies
Legal Name Nazara Technologies Private Limited
Headquarters Greater New York Area, East Coast, Northeastern US
Industry Gaming, Mobile Gaming, Esports, Video Games
Founder Nitish Mittersain
Founded 1999
Current CEO Manish Agarwal
Revenue $80.23 mn (Rs 621.7 crore in FY22)
Total funding $146.4 mn+ (November 2021)
Website corp.nazara.com

About Nazara and How It Works?
Nazara - Target Market Size
Nazara - Name, Logo and Tagline
Nazara - Founders and Team
Nazara - Startup Story
Nazara - Products
Nazara - Business Model
Nazara - Revenue and Growth
Nazara - Awards and Achievements
Nazara - Funding and Investors
Nazara - Investments
Nazara - Acquisitions
Nazara - Partnerships
Nazara - Competitors
Nazara - Challenges Faced
Nazara - Future Plans

About Nazara and How It Works?

Based in Mumbai, India, Nazara Technologies is a mobile game developer and sports media platform. In emerging markets such as India, Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, the company provides a diverse range of gaming products in digital games, interactive learning, esports, and gamified early learning ecosystems.

It also offers solutions for developing, deploying, targeting, and monitoring advertising campaigns on mobile networks, as well as wireless solutions that combine media companies' content, marketing messages, and wireless carriers' customer reach.

Nazara - Target Market Size

Kiddopia in gamified early learning (39% of revenue), Nodwin & Sportskeeda in eSports (32%), WCC & CarromClash in simulation games (5%), and Halaplay Technologies in real money games (3%) are among Nazara's most well-known IPs, while Telco Subscription accounts for 21% of revenue. The company is also hailed for being one of the first entrants in the Indian market in esports and cricket simulation. Its in-house content production, game engine growth, technology stack development, and partnerships with other gaming players can help the company achieve its goal of increased penetration and monetization.

Coming to the market size of the Indian sports industry, it was reported to be over Rs 1600 crore in 2020. Esports targets teenagers and young adults aged between 16 and 24 years, which form 32% of its audiences. On the other hand, there are people between 25  and 34 years of age, who form another 30% of them.


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Nazara - Name, Logo and Tagline

The company was established as Nazara.com on December 8, 1999, in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Thereafter, the company was converted into a public limited company and the name of our company was changed to Nazara Technologies Private Limited on December 13, 2017.

Nazara Logo
Nazara Logo

Nazara - Founders and Team

Nitish Mittersain

Nitish Mittersain is the Founder and Joint Managing Director at Nazara Technologies. Mittersain was a student of Bombay Scottish and then completed a Bachelor's degree in Business from the Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics. Nitish served as a Board Director of MEF Mobile along with heading Nazara. Furthermore, he has also been the Member of the Board (South Asia) of the Young Presidents Organization, and a Trustee of Dr. BK Goyal Heart Foundation.  

Nazara Technologies' Founder - Nitish Mittersain
Nazara Technologies' Founder and Joint Managing Director - Nitish Mittersain

Manish Agarwal is the present CEO of Nazara Technologies. An IIM Ahmedabad alumnus Agarwal had previously worked as the CEO of New Media Venture Ltd, Reliance Entertainment, and Reliance Entertainment Digital after serving big international firms like Microsoft, rediff.com, and Indian technology giant Infosys.

Nazara currently operates with a strength of over 100 employees.

Nazara - Startup Story

Nazara was founded when the internet was still in its nascent stage with dial-up connections ruling the market. The company has primarily come into existence as a result of the founder's immense love for gaming. Back in 1999 when Nazara was founded by Mittersain, the company began as an online portal for casual games, which saw exponential growth and is now consisting of interactive gaming, eSports, gamified early learning ecosystems, and more.    

The company has turned into a leading games company from Mumbai that specializes in the acquisition of value-added mobile games and their distribution in emerging markets such as India. Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America are some of the world's most populous regions and have already seen Nazara penetrating their markets.

In the year 2000, Nitish Mittersain formed Nazara Technologies in Mumbai. However, after an unfortunate incident, the ground swept out from under his feet. In the same year, the first dotcom crash caused him to second-guess his decision and whether or not to back off. He didn't want to close his company, though, because it was the gateway to his dreams. Nitish did his best to withstand the burst of the bubble, and with some clear tactics and a little luck, he was able to do so.

There weren't many companies in India planning to develop gaming technology in the early 2000s. Mittersain's first approach, in order to benefit Nazara, was to invest in advertising and brand campaigning. He knew that if it caught the public's attention, investors would line up outside his door.

As a result, he invited Sachin Tendulkar, the legendary cricketer of the time, to join the team in 2004. Tendulkar eventually made an agreement with Nazara Technologies after months of requesting and persuasion, after which Nazara handed him over an exclusive contract for three years in 2005. His plan shifted the current competitors' attention away from him. This had made the contracts with telecom companies easily fall into place and soon, Nazara saw an investment of $1.5 mn coming from Westbridge Capital.


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Nazara - Products

The success of some of its mobile games on the Google Play Store, such as World Cricket Championship 2, Chhota Bheem Race, and Motu Patlu Game, reflects localized gamer insights. These games have consistently ranked in the top three games on the Google Play Store's top free charts, ahead of well-known titles like Candy Crush Subway Surfer and Temple Run.

Nazara - Business Model

Nazara works on a subscription-based freemium business model. Subscription companies, freemium businesses, and esports businesses consist of a significant part of its operations. The subscription business caters to a huge number of mobile internet users in developing markets, many of whom are first-time mobile gamers.

Due to the gamers' low willingness to pay for online content, the company has adjusted its product offerings to provide optimum value at reasonable prices. Subscription Business's sachet pricing approach allows gamers to sign up for a daily, weekly, or monthly subscription and gain access to the entire catalogue of over 1000 android games. Billing for Subscription Business is done by mobile carriers (carrier billing), which has made it easier for gamers to play and for the company to raise revenue.

Manish Agarwal, the CEO of Nazara Technologies mentioned Nazara's aim to augment its presence in the freemium segment, with a special focus on developed markets.


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Nazara - Revenue and Growth

Nazara now has over 130 million monthly visitors and operates in 61+ different countries. Nine of Nazara's in-house games were among the top three downloaded games on Google Play Store in 2017. Users pay subscription fees for access to gamified early learning content, and the company also makes money from its eSports business.

Nazara opened its IPO on March 30, 2021, and the shares were listed at around a 79% premium against the issue price of Rs 1101.

Nazara Shares Rise

The shares of Nazara Technologies rose by 20% on the BSE on August 1, 2022, which finally closed at Rs 636.15. The market capitalisation of Nazara stood at Rs 4,177.25 crore at the end of the day's trading.

Nazara Revenue Breakdown

Nazara Technologies' revenue increased by 84% to Rs 454.2 crore in FY21. Nazara Technologies' consolidated revenue rose during the same fiscal, owing to strong growth momentum in segments such as gamified learning and e-sports. In FY22, Nazara witnessed a 37% Y-o-Y rise in its revenues, which grew to Rs 621.7 cr. The esports business revenue of Nazara grew by 79%, which made up 49% of its total revenues in FY22, thereby becoming Rs 303.9 cr. The gamified early learning segment was the next in line, which was recorded at Rs 204.4 cr, which contributed significantly (33%) to the operating revenues of Nazara in FY22. The revenue that came from real money gaming more than doubled in FY22, to become Rs 29.7 cr.

Nazara's operational revenues grew by more than 70% in Q1 FY23, from Rs 131.2 crore to Rs 223.1 crore, when compared to the same quarter in FY22. The company also grew by 22% YoY in terms of consolidated profit after tax (PAT), which went up to Rs 16.5 crore in the April-June quarter of the fiscal year 2023. This is due to the strong growth that Nazara's esports and real-money gaming businesses reported. Nazara's expenses also shot up by 90%, which were registered at Rs 193 crore in Q1 FY23.  

Nazara Expenses Breakdown

The total expenses of the company were Rs 449.5 cr in FY21, which increased to become Rs 575.4 cr in FY22. The largest segment in expenses was the company's spending on advertisement and business promotions. However, this segment saw a reduction from Rs 226.5 cr in FY21 to Rs 201.7 cr.    

Nazara Financials FY18-FY22

The market capitalization of Nazara has expanded over the years and currently stands at Rs 7,045.42 crore, as per the reports dated November 29, 2021. Besides, the consolidated net profit of Nazara for the July-September quarter of 2021 increased by 9.8% to be recorded at Rs 14.5 crore. The company also saw a rise in its revenue from operations during the same period, which was at Rs 110 crore and rose to become Rs 129.6 crore, around 17.8% higher than what it was in the corresponding quarter of FY21.

Nazara has witnessed a 273% rise in its profit after tax (PAT) for FY22, which became Rs 50.7 cr. The company's revenue from operations also grew by 37% during the same period to become Rs 621.7 cr in FY22.      

India accounts for approximately 41% of Nazara Technologies' sales, with North America contributing an equal share in FY21, up from 12% a year earlier. It did so after acquiring Kiddopia, a children's learning platform, in July 2020.

Nazara - Awards and Achievements

Here are some of the popular awards that Nazara won throughout the years:  

  • Nazara won for Sportsie at the M-Billionth Awards in 2017.
  • Nazara was bestowed with the MADDIES Silver Award in the category – of Apps/Games for innovation in 2016.
  • Nazara received the award for the License of the year in the Gaming category.

Nazara - Funding and Investors

Nazara raised around $42.09 mn (Rs 315 crores) through preferential allotment of fresh equity to its existing institutional investors namely Gamnat Pte Ltd and Plutus Wealth Management on October 6, 2021. These fresh funds will be used by the company for its upcoming growth initiatives and acquisitions across diverse business verticals including gamified learning, freemium, skill-based real money gaming, and esports.

The Mumbai-based gaming giant had last witnessed a funding round worth $13.7 mn from Hornbill Capital Advisors in a private equity round on February 9, 2021. The company has raised $188.49 mn in total, as of October 2021.

The funding and investors details of Nazara are as follows -

Date Round Amount Lead Investors
October 6, 2021 - $42.09M Gamnat Pte Ltd, Plutus Wealth Management
Feb 9, 2021 Private Equity Round $13.7M Hornbill Capital Advisers
Jan 5, 2021 Secondary Market $66.56M Plutus Wealth Management
Feb 8, 2018 Venture Round $3.46M Turtle Entertainment
Dec 1, 2017 Venture Round $51M IIFL Asset Management
Nov 28, 2013 Venture Round $801.5K -
Dec 27, 2007 Series B $7M Sequoia Capital
Oct 19, 2005 Series A $1.5M -
Apr 1, 2002 Seed Round Rajeev Chitrabhanu (MAGNETIC)

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Nazara - Investments

Nazara has made significant investments in various companies like CrimzonCode, Bakbuck, HashCube & more. The last investment made by Nazara was in BITKRAFT Ventures via a Corporate Round, when it invested $2.5 mn on April 5, 2022. According to the deal, Nazara will be investing $875K in the beginning while the remaining amount will be invested over the next three years.

Nazara is looking forward to investing Rs 20.10 crore in its material subsidiary that goes by the name of Absolute Sports Private Limited, which runs the sports news website Sportskeeda. According to the news dated June 18, 2022, the investment has already been given a nod by the board, and it will be done via the secondary purchase of equity shares from Porush Jain, the promoter of Absolute.

The Nazara Gaming board has also approved another investment in Brandscale Innovations, which will be worth Rs 10 crore and be conducted via optionally convertible debentures.          

Date Organization Name Round Amount
April 5, 2022 BITKRAFT Ventures Corporate Round Yes
October 7, 2021 Rusk Media Secondary Market Yes
Aug 21, 2019 Sportskeeda Series A $1.5M
May 7, 2019 Bakbuck Corporate Round -
Dec 10, 2018 HalaPlay Technologies Series A $5.32M
Aug 16, 2018 InstaSportz Consultancy Corporate Round -
Jul 3, 2018 CrimzonCode Corporate Round -
Jan 9, 2018 Next Wave Multimedia Venture Round -
Apr 7, 2016 TrulySocial Venture Round -
Nov 6, 2014 HashCube Series A $684.2K

Nazara - Acquisitions

Nazara has acquired various gaming, sports, and media platforms including HalaPlay Technologies, Sportskeeda, Paper Boat Apps, and more. The last company that Nazara acquired was Planet Superheroes, an official D2C merchandising partner from Mumbai. NODWIN Gaming, the subsidiary of Nazara Technologies has acquired the Mumbai-based licensed merchandising startup to offer authentic merchandise to the youths who engage with NODWIN Gaming through its popular IPs like India Premiership, VCC, NH7, and DreamHack. It acquired Datawrkz after that in January 2022.

The previous acquisition of Nazara was OpenPlay Technologies Pvt Ltd. The company mentioned that it has allotted 6.48 lakh shares in place of the remaining 76.7% stakes in OpenPlay in which Unnati was a shareholder. Now, with the current development, Nazra is the owner of 100% of the issued and paid-up share capital of OpenPlay and it completed its acquisition of OpenPlay on November 29, 2021.

Nazara purchased a 27.42% minority stake in Crimson Code in July 2018, allowing the company to offer real money prizes for winning live quizzes. The firm bought a 67% stake in Sportskeeda in 2019.

Nazara acquired nearly 55% of stakes in a Bangalore-based adtech firm, Datawrkz on January 18, 2022. According to the deal, the diversified gaming, and sports media platform will be acquiring 33% stakes for Rs 60 crore, of which Rs 35 crore will be partly payable in cash, while the balance consideration of Rs 25 crore will either be paid in cash or swap of shares in the first tranche by the 22nd of April this year. The option for the acquisition of the additional 22% is reserved with Nazara, which is expected to acquire the remaining stakes in the second tranche that will be closing in Q4 FY23. Nazara Board has also approved the company's investment of Rs 30 cr in Next Wave Multimedia, a subsidiary of Datawrkz by way of subscription. The company has also announced the acquisition of 51% stakes in Rusk Distribution.

Nazara has acquired 10 companies. Here's a list of Nazara's Acquisitions to date -

Aquiree Name About Aquiree Date Amount
Datawrkz Digital advertising firm founded in 2013 and headquartered in Texas, which has been working with independent agencies and mid-market brands January 18, 2022 $7.8 mn
Planet Superheroes Mumbai-based licensed premium character merchandising company January 13, 2022 -
OpenPlay India's fastest skill-gaming company from Hyderabad August 27, 2021 $25.38M
Publish Me Full-service gaming marketing agency based in Turkey June 17, 2021 $2.67M
HalaPlay Technologies A daily fantasy sports platform. Jun 12, 2020 $1.95M
Paper Boat Apps Paper Boat Apps is a children's games development studio Oct 16, 2019 $11.15M
SportsUnity SportsUnity is a cricket quiz platform that provides a one of a kind experience simulating a real cricket match. Sep 18, 2019 -
Sportskeeda Sportskeeda App is your home for exclusive sports content. Personalize your app to receive alerts for your favorite teams and leagues. Aug 21, 2019 $5.87M
NODWIN Gaming NODWIN Gaming is a gaming solutions company and creator of e-sports events. Jan 24, 2018 -
MyGamma MyGamma is a Communities company. Jan 22, 2013 -
Djuzz Djuzz (m.djuzz.com) provides a rich variety of free downloads of close to 5000 mobile games and applications. Jan 22, 2013 -

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Nazara - Partnerships

Nextwave Multimedia, a subsidiary of gaming technology company Nazara Technologies, has partnered with Cricket Australia to create mobile-based cricket league games for the international market. Nextwave, a Chennai-based company in which Nazara owns a majority stake, has signed a three-year licensing agreement with Cricket Australia to create a new ‘Big Bash Cricket' game based on its iconic mobile cricket gaming platform.

Nazara - Competitors

Nazara's top competitors are -

  • Juego Studio
  • PlaySimple
  • Hammerplay Studios
  • Mobi2fun Mobile Entertainment
  • Flixy Games
  • Workboard
  • PickMe
  • Spireon
  • InfoStretch and more.

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Nazara - Challenges Faced

For several years, the development of digital services was stifled by prohibitive internet access, high smartphone prices, and a payment system that was underdeveloped. In a draught red herring prospectus, Nazara Technologies stated that "all of these regions exhibit market commonalities in terms of improving economic outlook and increasing digital adoption backed by bullish macroeconomic factors such as consistent GDP growth, the online population, younger median age, and fast-growing, affordable smartphone market."

The business, which is backed by renowned stock market investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, first filed a draught red herring prospectus (DRHP) in January 2018 and also received SEBI approval for an IPO. However, due to a market downturn, the launch was cancelled. However, it was again approved later on and the company was finally listed at NSE.

  • Nazara Technologies announced a restated loss in the fiscal year 2020 and for the six months ending September 30, 2020.
  • In the last three fiscal years, one of its group companies has lost money.
  • It might not be able to efficiently monetize its e-sports products, which could have a material and negative impact on the company's market, financial position, and cash flow.

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Nazara - Future Plans

“IPO is a huge milestone in our journey, and the journey is that we want to be in the top 5 global gaming companies. It is a strategic tool for us to achieve that goal,” said Manish Agarwal, CEO of Nazara.

However, there are several distinctions between the Indian and global gaming environments. According to Agarwal, the gaming industry is dominated by free-to-play games with in-app purchases, which drive global money revenue on the non-real gaming money side.

“In that, in-app purchases is driven by hardcore games. In India, if there are about 380 million gamers, out of that 300 will not do in-app purchases, it’s a very small segment today where people have an inclination to buy virtual items in a game. The driver of that is competitive multiplayer which needs high quality internet, stable connections. The infrastructure for that is improving in India but is still not there. When you have 200-250 million doing competitive gaming over their mobile networks, that's when you will see monetization,” he said.

But there is still reason to be optimistic. Gaming is becoming the go-to entertainment for young Indians aged 14 to 25, and this will drive development.

FAQs

What do Nazara Technologies do?

Nazara Technologies, based in India, is a mobile game developer and sports media platform.

Who founded Nazara?

Nitish Mittersain is the Founder & Managing Director at Nazara Technologies.

How do Nazara Technologies make money?

Subscription companies, freemium businesses, and esports businesses are also part of the operations. The subscription business caters to a huge number of mobile internet users in developing markets, many of whom are first-time mobile gamers.

What companies do Nazara Technologies compete with?

Nazara's top competitors are Juego Studio, PlaySimple, Hammerplay Studios, Mobi2fun Mobile Entertainment, Flixy Games, Workboard, PickMe, Spireon, and InfoStretch.

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