Ashneer Grover opens up on CrickPe’s Funding and Future

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The news regarding Ashneer Grover’s recently incorporated CrickPe, a fantasy sports and gaming platform, has been surfacing for a while. His new venture along with her wife Madhuri Jain-Grover is remarked as a ‘market-shaking business’, which competes with well-established platforms like Dream11, My11Circle, and others.

In an exclusive interview with Inc42, the 40-year-old tycoon recently opened up about his company under Third Unicorn Pvt. Ltd. and revealed that the model of CrickPe is different from other fantasy platforms.

When asked about how CrickPe would compete with already existing big sharks in the ocean, he mentioned how BharatPe became successful, despite people questioning its place in the market where competitors like PayTM, PhonePe, and Google Pay existed. He said, “Ultimately, it is the product that matters.”

With the latest venture, about one-tenth part of the revenues will be shared to the cricket organizations and athletes in the form of gifts, thereby rewarding the players for their efforts.

He explained “What I want to do is bring positive change in this regard, i.e. reward cricketers on the basis of performance. I want to make sports meritocratic – the money goes to the player who performs best in sport, not the one who acts best in front of the camera.”

Performers should get their due: Ashneer

On being asked how CrickPe differs from other fantasy apps, Grover replied that while the core functionality is the same as any other fantasy app, CrickPe will be giving 1.5% of the reserve pot to BCCI and another 1.5% to the cricketers who played in the match based on their performance.

Grover had opined that it will create a method of monetization for the cricketers and help fans get closer to their favourite players on the gaming platform.

Grover also spoke on the argument of cricketers not needing any other source of income as they already earn a lot from various means. He said, “What I want to do is bring positive change in this regard, i.e. reward cricketers on the basis of performance. I want to make sports meritocratic – the money goes to the player who performs best in sport, not the one who acts best in front of the camera.”

Player who are not that good-looking don’t get many advertisements opportunities and thus earn much less. According to Grover, the Indian fantasy gaming market have a potential of Rs 40,000 crore in cricket alone.

If CrickPe and other fantasy gaming app start paying the cricketers along with BCCI, they will earn even more than the whole match based on their performance, which will encourage them to play better and create a sense of accomplishment.

On being asked how he plans on dealing with challenges that are in the fantasy gaming or real money gaming regarding restrictions and ban in several states, Grover said that some politicians still considers fantasy gaming as gambling, despite the Supreme Court ruling the activity as a skill game.

Proper research on BCCI’s anti-corruption norms has been done to ensure there are no unethical practices, according to Grover.

Grover said, “What I am essentially giving to the BCCI, any state cricket board and cricketers is a gift from my platform. I would not enter into any direct contract with anyone. We are also going to have TDS for such payouts. BCCI regulations require the cricketers to disclose gifts they have received from third parties, which I will be doing on my app anyway.”

Advertisements for fantasy sports platform have challenges in different cities. On being asked how CrickPe will be tackling the issue, Grover straight up said that there will be no TV campaign or anything like that. All the advertisements will be done through social media and will be Geo restricted.

Grover wants to make CrickPe as profitable business with innovation and not capital. The goal is to make people interested after the first match, making them wonder how much the won or the cricketers won.

Answering the problem of tackling the customer acquisition costs, Grover told that he will be utilizing his personal brand that he has built over the years. He will also be appearing in several CrickPe’s ad campaign.

Talking about the fundraising for Third Unicorn, He told that they have raised Rs 40 crore with a post money valuation of Rs 290 crore. This will be used CrickPe and other products by Third Unicorn. The company will be run by Grover and his wife as co-founder, along with one other co-founder who will become the director if they wish to be.

The funds are raised from Venture Catalysts, Haldiram family office, rapper Badshah, cricketer Shikhar Dhawan’s venture capital fund Da-One Ventures and Mumbai-based content creator firm, Super Fat Studios.

Grover also pressed on how he will not be a mass employer and CrickPe app is created by a team of less than 10 people including Grover himself.