Category: Investment

Nazara Games invests US$20 million to set up Indian professional eSports gaming league

Nazara Technologies Pvt. Ltd, a mobile game publisher, has announced on Tuesday, that it has launched a new eSports league in India, for which it would invest Rs 136 crore (about US$20 million) over the next five years.

The eSports league, a series of organised multiplayer video game tournaments is a project initiated to scale up the eSports ecosystem in the country over five years and will be housed in a separate fully-owned subsidiary of Nazara Technologies.

“Esports has become a cultural phenomenon in the last few years. Countries in Europe, Korea, China, and U.S. have seen massive growth in the number of players and spectators. Asia-Pacific accounts for 44% of the audience and is the fastest growing region globally. Given improving internet connectivity in India, launching an eSports league seemed the perfect way to reach out to the large group of eSports enthusiasts in India,” said Nitish Mittersain, the Founder and Managing Director of Nazara Games.

At the onset, the league will conduct two seasons each year for the single person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and multi-player online battle arena DotA 2. It also plans to add more titles in the future.

To participate, teams will have to register on the website and pass pre-qualification tournaments in which the progress of all players in the qualification tournament can be tracked by the entire Indian eSports community through live web programmes.

Founded in 2000 by Nitish Mittersain, Nazara Technologies is a leading mobile games publisher with a consumer base in India and worldwide. In addition to developing a range of branded and original mobile games, Nazara operates services such as Games Club, having customers ranging from mobile carriers as well as handset manufacturers.

Speaking on the eSports league, Manish Agarwal, the CEO of Nazara Games also said, “We are excited to provide Indian eSports enthusiasts with a solid and player/community orientated eSports ecosystem, in which players can thrive, improve their skills and become top competitors at an international level. The eSports league will not only be great for Indian players but also for fans. This platform will provide very extensive and exciting coverage of the Indian eSports landscape and will allow fans to track the careers and professional achievements of their eSport idols on a daily basis.”

Nazara is investing in building a wider eSports ecosystem, which it claims will be the firs games project of its genre and scale in India. Focusing on content based and styled on successful eSports format, Nazara will also work around three major pillars – an online content platform dedicated to the eSports community, a professional league and a network of pro-teams entirely supported by Nazara.

Currently present in 41 countries across the world, the company behind Chota Bheem reportedly has a revenue of Rs 220 crore for FY16, or US$26 million, clocking 40% CAGR over the last four years.

In April 2016, Nazara invested an undisclosed amount in London-based mobile games studio TrulySocial. Prior to that, it acquired a 26% stake in another London-based mobile gaming studio Mastermind Sports Ltd, which launched CricBet, a real-time prediction game.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Israeli JOY Ventures launches US$50 million neuro-wellness fund

JOY Ventures, a new Israeli investment firm, has recently initiated a US$50 million vehicle centered on the emerging field of neuro-wellness, in addition to the inauguration of its office in Herzliya Pituach.

Founded by the Israeli-Japanese Corundum Open Innovation Fund, JOY Ventures will invest in developments offering scientifically validated technologies offering anti-stress and mood alteration solutions in addition to neuro wellness solutions, that can be turned into marketable products.

Additionally, the new fund will be headed by Avi Yaron, a serial entrepreneur, Founder of Visionsense and the inventor of a state-of-the-art instrument for complex brain surgery along with Beer-Sheva-based Incubit Technology Ventures’ Idan Katz.

Speaking on the vehicle, Yaron said, “Originally developed to make things easier for human beings, technology actually intensifies the tension we live in. For this reason, we decided to invest in neuro wellness by leveraging the large body of research and neuro developments in Israel.”

JOY Ventures will adopt a two-track approach, funding research grants of at least US$1.2 million per annum to academic research in the emerging field, startup companies, and technological incubators for entrepreneurs.

“We’re establishing a new ecosystem in the new industry of neuro-wellness,” Yaron said. “Our emphasis will be on the development of scientifically-proven products whose goal will be to help people manage and overcome chronic conditions.”

“Many years of being involved in the development of brain surgery technologies, made me realise the human need for joyful and relaxed moments and how critical they are for our health,” Yaron explains. “Many neuro researches show that the modern life intensity contributes to prolonged hostile emotions of sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt and more. These emotions, in turn, generate stress and collect a heavy toll from our health.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Chinese VC firm Legend Capital secures US$243 million for seventh venture fund

Chinese venture capital firm Legend Capital, the venture and growth capital arm of China’s Legend Holdings Corporation, has raised US$243 million last Friday for its seventh vehicle.

Based on a SEC filing, the LC Fund VII aims to raise US$374 million for its latest fund and is currently still in the process of raising the remaining US$132 million. The vehicle has begun its fundraising process about a year ago, having filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in February 2016.

Its previous sixth US dollar-denominated fund was raised in May 2014, whereby Legend Capital has attracted five new investors, raising US$500 million in a span of under six months.

Founded in 2001, Legend Capital focuses on innovation and growth enterprises with operations in China or related to China. The VC firm claims to manage several US dollar and RMB funds with its total assets under management at over RMB30 billion (about US$4.37 billion).

Additionally, Legend Capital has invested in more than 300 companies including Beijing biochemical firm Kawin Technology, Chinese gaming company iDreamSky, and digital entertainment company Happy Elements among some.

Among its investment portfolio, 50 have successfully listed on domestic or overseas capital market while around 40 companies achieved exit through M&A. Recent exits include Shandong Linglong Tyre Co., Ltd., which was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in July 2016.

The venture capital firm recently co-led a US$100-million funding round in Chinese boutique hotel operator AtourHotel. While in November, it had invested US$20 million along with the investment arm of Alibaba Group – Riverhill Fund in Chinese online seafood marketplace Gfresh.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Thai consumer products firm Neo Corp secures US$6.73 million investment from Finansa Fund

Neo Corporate, a Thai manufacturer and distributor of house brand consumer and cosmetic products has raised an investment from Finansa Fund Management, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Finansa Pcl which is worth 237 million baht (about US$6.73 million).

As per details of the agreement, the investment is conducted in the form of an exchangeable five-year loan, which will be later converted into of Neo Corporate’s common shares.

Formerly known as BIO Consumer, Neo Corporate is a private company that was established back in 1989 by the Thakolsri family. The enterprise is one of the global suppliers and market leader in household and consumer products.

Its portfolio of products includes the popular Fineline, BeNice, Eversense, Genie, Tros, D-Nee, and Vivite among some.

With the capital, the company will construct a new manufacturing facility in the province of Pathum Thani in order to increase its production capacity and meet the rising demand in the domestic market as well as neighboring countries.

According to Suttidej Thakolsri, the CEO of Neo Corporate, the company would invest around 2.5 billion baht (about US$71 million) to realise its facilities in Pathum Thani, marking the company’s highest investment over the past 27 years.

With this investment, the company expects to increase its annual sales revenue from 6 billion baht (about US$170 million) at present to 10 billion baht (about US$285 million) in the next five years.

Targeting companies from the consumer, logistics, technology, food production and distribution sector, Finansa also said that it anticipates further private equity investments in the future, aiming to complete one transaction per year.

At the same time, Finansa Fund Management plans to get Neo Corporate to be listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand within the next three years.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Singapore-based CoAssets invests US$145K in Chinese product crowdfunding platform Da Xian Bing

Listed on the mainboard of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), Singapore-based CoAssets has today announced that it has made a RMB1 million (about US$146k) investment in Fujian’s crowdfunding startup Da Xian Bing for a 10 percent equity interest.

Key terms of the investment include the cash consideration for 10 percent equity with 60 percent to be recouped from CoAssets’ joint venture partner Fujian Yaosheng. Besides, CoAssets will also appoint one of their four directors to the board of Da Xian Bing.

Additionally, there is also a performance-based consideration of up to RMB4 million (about US$582k), linked to the company’s revenue and user-based hurdles.

Pro-acquisition, the stake in Da Xian Bing will grant CoAssets the access to a rapidly growing user base of more than 300,000 users as well as to expand its business footprint in China, where it already maintains operations through a 40 percent joint venture with Fujian Yaosheng.

“With a growing middle class that has increasing disposable income to spend and invests, China has always been one of the key markets for us,” said the CEO and co-founder of CoAssets, Getty Goh.

“Having secured this deal, I am pleased to note that CoAssets is one of the very few homegrown crowdfunding platforms that has managed to break into a market as competitive as China,” he further adds.

In spite of the competitive nature and maturity of China’s crowdfunding and P2P market, Goh also highlighted that CoAsset’s role as an oversea-listed company coupled with the brand strength it possessed as a Singapore enterprise lies in a whole different category.

Moreover, the collaboration with Da Xian Bing will provide a much greater market reach and penetration, given that it operates in the product crowdfunding space rather than investment crowdfunding like CoAssets.

Commenting on the investment prospects, CoAssets conservatively expects to increase its user base in China by 300,000 within 6 months of the investment in Da Xian Bing.

“We will be rolling out a series of marketing initiatives to engage Da Xian Bing users and we hope to convert most, if not all, of them to become registered investors of our CoAssets China platform,” said CTO and Co-Founder of CoAssets, Dr. Seh Huan Kiat.

CoAssets currently has 70,000 registered investors and expects to see more than 370,000 registered investors by mid-2017 and potentially exceed the 400,000 registered investors market by the end of 2017.

“If we are able to maintain our investor conversion rate and investment amount at the average of about 2% and S$10,000 respectively, the number of crowdfunding projects we can undertake will significantly increase,” Dr. Seh adds.

Unlike CoAssets which acts as an investment crowdfunding platform, Da Xian Bing itself operates in the space of product crowdfunding. Both companies believe that this deal demonstrates a good potential for synergy between both firms and users.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

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