Loco, an Indian streaming platform for video games, received $9 million from investors including South Korean gaming company Krafton Inc. in its first fundraising effort to capitalize on the growing popularity of games-based entertainment in the South Asian nation.
The Mumbai-based startup was also backed in its seed round by the likes of Lumikai Ltd., India’s first gaming media fund, London-based Hiro Capital and early stage investors including 3one4 Capital and Axilor Ventures. Loco will use the funds to upgrade its technology and content, the startup said in an announcement Monday.
Livestreaming of games has been popularized globally by Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch in the U.S. and DouYu International Holdings Ltd. and Huya Inc. in China. In India -- which has no legacy of gaming on consoles or desktops -- the genre received a boost during the pandemic, as the hundreds of millions locked indoors turned to their smartphones for entertainment. Krafton’s PUBG Mobile, previously distributed in India by Tencent Holdings Ltd., had been among the most popular games in the country before it was banned last year and is now re-entering the market.
“Cheap data and inexpensive phones brewed a perfect situation in India, creating a completely new category of entertainment,” co-founder Anirudh Pandita said in an interview. “Over 100 million monthly active users in India engage with these games, imagine a 100 million people playing a sport that no one’s watching -- that’s what Loco set out to solve for.”