Go-Ventures, the investment arm of Go-Jek, one of Indonesia’s most valuable tech startups, is finalising a $30 million financing round in domestic mobile gaming company, Mobile Premier League (MPL), two people aware of the deal told ET. For MPL, this will be its second fundraise in a gap of a few months and is likely to see its valuation increase ten times from the previous round, sources privy to the transaction said. If the deal goes through it will be Go-Jek’s maiden financial investment in India after having acquired three local companies to boost its technology and engineering talent.
A source familiar with the development said MPL which had raised $5 million in October as part of its Series A round at a $12-13 million valuation has picked up the new capital valuing it at $150 million, post the latest round. The company’s earlier fundraise was led by Sequoia Capital, which is also an early backer of Go-Jek.
“Go-Jek is moving beyond transportation and wants to be like a super app in Indonesia and neighbouring countries. They could look to take MPL international as they expand into southeast Asian markets,” said a person in the know. Go-Jek valued at $5 billion is reportedly making a move into the Singapore market which has been dominated by the SoftBank-backed on-demand transportation app Grab. The Indonesian transport startup previously acquired three Indian businesses primarily for their including – Pianta, a home healthcare provider marketplace, CodeIgnition, an infrastructure automation and technology solution provider, and LeftShift, a mobile App Development company.
Go-Jek’s founder Nadiem Makarim and MPL’s founder Sai Srinivas Kiran did not respond to ET’s emailed queries till press time.
MPL is an eSports platform where users participate in what the company refers to as skill-based game tournaments including cricket, puzzles, crosswords among others, to win real cash. Its Android app has more than 1,000,000 installs. Founded in 2018 by Kiran and Shubham Malhotra who had earlier sold their startup Creo to messaging app Hike, MPL claims to be the largest real money mobile gaming platform. Besides, Sequoia, its other investors include BeeNext Ventures and Times Internet, a part of Times group which also publishes this paper.
For Go-Jek, which has positioned itself as a super app, its bet on MPL is significant keeping in mind that the online gaming industry in India, which currently stands at $290 million in size is expected to grow to $1 billion by 2021, according to a report by Google-KPMG. This growth is primarily driven by proliferation of low cost smartphones amongst urban and rural population, increase in the domestic game developer base, and focus on local content with themes, even as the industry sees improve paying propensity by 2021.
Over the last few years, several e-gaming companies have gained investor attention in India, including Gaming Monk , which raised $546Kin October, and fantasy gaming platforms including Dream11 which racket up $100 million from Tencent, Kalaari Capital, Multiples Equity, Think Investments View. Last year, Canadian investment firm Clairvest picked up a majority stake in rummy gaming company, Ace2Three for $74 million in cash.
Started in 2011 in Jakarta as a motorbike taxi startup, Go-Jek has grown to become an on-demand mobile platform that provides services including transportation, logistics, payments as well as fulfills on-demand ordering of food, grocery and other services. The company, which has raised about $3.28 billion till date from investors including Tencent, Jingdong Group, and Google, was founded by former McKinsey and Harvard Business School alumnus Nadiem Makarim.
“Go-Jek is no longer just a transport company. This investment compliments its vision to be a holistic internet company,” said one person aware of the deal.