Online poker startup 9stacks secures ₹28 crores in series A round led by WaterBridge Ventures

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New Delhi-based online gaming startup 9stacks has raised ₹28 crores in series A funding round led by WaterBridge Ventures, along with participation from existing investors.

The funds raised will be used to expand its team and build its technology platform. It will further use the funds to ramp up user acquisition, data analytics, machine learning, along with product and market expansion.

9stacks was founded by IIM alumnus Sudhir Kamath, along with IIT Kharagpur alumni Pratik Kumar, Abhinav Nigam, and Rishab Mathur in 2017. It provides an online platform for users to play an online game of poker, staking real money, with an opportunity to win real money, along with gaining poker skills.

Talking about the investment, Manish Kheterpal, Managing Partner, WaterBridge Ventures, said, “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,”

He further added, “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 startup claims to have a user base of over 1 lakh, with 5,000 to 10,000 active monthly users on its platform.

9stacks last raised ₹10 crores in seed funding from a clutch of investors including Swati Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO, IndustryBuying, Purnima Khandelwal, Founder and CEO of Inl Farms, Maheshwer Peri, Founder of Careers360, and Kartik Sheth, CEO of Wynk Music, in December 2017.

Other online skill gaming startups in poker and Rummy in India include Dream11, RummyCircle, Ace2Three, among many others.

In August 2018, online fantasy sports platform Dream11 raised $100 million in series D funding led by Tencent Holdings.

According to Kamath, the online poker industry in India is estimated to be around ₹500 to ₹700 crores. With the online poker and other games being classified as skill-based games, more games are getting a legal status in the country, and the industry is expected to grow.

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