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Online poker has witnessed unbridled progress in India with several companies entering the industry recently. But where new companies are joining the fray, existing brands are having to bring out their A-game in order to stay relevant.
One of the recent entrants in the industry, 9stacks seems to be at the top of their game. Founded in 2017, by Sudhir Kamath, Pratik Kumar, Abhinav Nigam and Rishab Mathur, 9stacks has scaled great heights within the online poker fraternity and seems to be on a structured fast-track growth path.
Back in December 2017, when the company was still a start-up, 9stacks had raised â‚¹10 Crores ($1.5 Million) from a group of angel investors. The founders and senior-level executives from various industries that had invested in the start-up included Swati Gupta, founder of business-to-business online commerce portal Industrybuying.com; Purnima Khandelwal, founder of horticulture company INI Farms; Maheshwer Peri, founder of career information portal for students Careers360; and Sanjay Singh, founder of hospital chain and naturopathy clinic Swas Healthcare.
Less than a year later, Sparskills Technologies Private Limited, the parent company of 9stacks, has raised â‚¹21 Crores (approximately $3 Million) in a Series A funding round that was closed recently.
According to the records made available by the Registrar of Companies (ROC), the Series A funding round was led by early stage VC firm WaterBridge Ventures. The venture capital firm has invested â‚¹7 Crores in the company for 50,000 Series A Compulsorily Convertible Series A Preference Shares (Series A CCPS) and one equity share in the company.
The balance â‚¹14 Crores was put in by approximately 30 existing angel investors of the company. These investors, along with WaterBridge Ventures, have been issued Series A CCPS of face value of â‚¹20 in the company yielding a 0.01% dividend per annum. While the Series A CCPS can be converted into regular equity shares of the company at any time upon the request of the investors, no such statement has been made by 9stacks till date.
Discussing the growth of online gaming in India and the importance of the investment, Managing Partner of WaterBridge Ventures Manish Kheterpal stated, “India is at the cusp of massive online gaming adoption with an exponential increase in players and revenue expected in this sector. Real Money Gaming will have a significant wallet share of online due to ubiquitous mobile access, increasing disposable income, convenience and superior user experience. Having said that, it is an execution heavy space and we therefore chose to back a highly professional and accomplished team of founders comprising of Sudhir, Pratik, Abhinav and Rishab. We are proud to partner with this founding team with great pedigree and a proven track record.”
The CEO of 9stacks Sudhir Kamath, also commented on the development noting, “With WaterBridge Ventures becoming the lead investor in our Series A fund raise, we are delighted to announce that 9stacks is India’s first online poker company to reach this funding milestone. This is a great sign of confidence in the 9stacks team, the systems and processes we’ve put in place, in addition to the rapidly growing market itself. We will use these funds to ramp up user acquisition, data analytics, machine learning, and product & market expansion. We want 9stacks to be the preferred platform for poker in India, especially for new players, where anyone can discover, learn and play poker, anytime, anywhere.”