Dream11 CEO eyes growth in India’s domestic market

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Harsh Jain, the co-founder and chief executive officer of the fantasy gaming platform Dream11, stated that the company has no intentions of venturing into global markets. Speaking at the Startup Mahakumbh event in New Delhi, Jain emphasized the advantages of focusing on the domestic market in India. “A lot of people have asked why we don’t go global. My answer has always been — Why? We have a very unique advantage. We have a domestic market which is one-sixth of the world’s population. As an Indian, you have [an advantage],” Jain stated as reported on Business Standard.

Dream11 is one among the three gaming unicorn companies of India, valued at over $1 billion — alongside Games24x7 and Mobile Premier League.

Jain highlighted India’s demographic advantages, noting the country’s status as the nation with the largest young population and the support of a government actively promoting technological advancements. He emphasized the necessity of capitalizing on this environment, asserting, “We must take advantage of this opportunity.”

According to Jain, Dream11 currently has approximately 220 million users in India and expects further growth opportunities within the country. He mentioned the platform’s exclusivity to Indian users, revealing that non-Indians are not permitted to participate. Despite this restriction, Dream11 has experienced growth, adding 55 million new users in the past year alone.

The majority of Dream11 users are aged between 25 and 60 and predominantly hail from smaller towns, with only 28 percent residing in Tier-I and Tier-II cities. Jain addressed the regulatory challenges faced by Indian real-money gaming companies, as well as the recent imposition of a 28 percent goods and services tax. Despite these obstacles, Jain expressed optimism about Dream11’s future, particularly in leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance operations.

“Sports is an area where we can use AI because the availability of sports data is good,” Jain commented. He revealed that Dream11 has established an innovation centre in partnership with Columbia University in the US to focus on machine learning and reinforcement learning, highlighting the potential applications of AI in sports, including team selection assistance, statistical analysis, and sports news filtering.

The Indian fantasy sports industry witnessed a 31 percent revenue growth, reaching Rs.6,800 crore in FY22, according to a report by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports and Deloitte India. The sector, currently valued at Rs.75,000 crore, is projected to expand, with an estimated 180 million users across over 300 fantasy sports platforms in India.

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