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Indian Online Poker Site Raises $3M In Series A Funding

Poker Platform Says It Made History With Funding Round

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An Indian online poker platform says it has made history by becoming the first poker-only platform in the country to complete a series A funding round.

9stacks announced Monday that it has raised 28 crore ($3 million USD) in the funding round led by WaterBridge Ventures and the startup’s existing pool of investors. The poker portal says it currently has a user base of more than 100,000 “subscribers.”

“India is at the cusp of massive online gaming adoption with an exponential increase in players and revenue expected in this sector,” said WaterBridge Ventures Managing Director Manish Kheterpal. “Real-money gaming will have a significant wallet share of online due to ubiquitous mobile access [in India], increasing disposable income, convenience and superior user experience.”

9stacks said that it will use the funding to ramp up user acquisition, data analytics, machine learning, as well as product and market expansion. The poker platform is seeking to become “the preferred” site for online poker in India.

“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,” said 9stacks CEO Sudhir Kamath. “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.”

The poker startup, which launched last year, said that it recently took 25 of its users to the 2018 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. It said that two of those players finished in the top 100 in the Main Event. Two Indian poker players have won bracelets on poker’s biggest stage.

According to 9stacks, other Indian online gaming portals, such as Dream 11, Ace2Three and RummyCircle, have raised institutional investment rounds for their respective segments.

In addition to having more than 100,000 users, 9stacks said that more than three million hands are played each month on its platform.

The startup added that it has been a strong voice for advocating poker as a game of skill. On its platform, 9stacks recently launched India’s first “skills dashboard” where gamers can carry out in-depth analyses of their own strategy. The legality of poker in India varies by jurisdiction, with proponents of the industry pushing for poker to be viewed as a competitive mind sport.

The industry’s efforts were bolstered late last year by former world no. 1 chess player Viswanathan Anand signing on as a brand ambassador for an Indian poker league.

India has some 1.2 billion mobile users, making it an extremely attractive market for online gaming companies. Poker could represent only a small piece of the potential $1 billion internet gaming market within the next several years, according to a KPMG estimate.

The opportunity for online poker in India has drawn interest from poker industry heavyweights such as PokerStars and the World Poker Tour.

 
 
Tags: India,   Poker Business