Game streaming startup Loco has raised $42 million, led by South Korea-based crypto venture capital firm Hashed and participation from NR Narayana Murthy-led Catamaran Ventures, Makers Fund, and Korea Investment Partners, the company said on March 10. Existing investors Krafton, Lumikai, Korea Investment Partners and Hiro Capital also participated in the funding round.
Loco, which was previously a live trivia app, was acquired by Sequoia India-backed digital entertainment company Pocket Aces in 2018. In June last year, Loco was spun out as a separate company with a $9 million investment from Krafton led by Pocket Aces co-founders Anirudh Pandita and Ashwin Suresh while the other co-founder Aditi Shrivastava continues to lead Pocket Aces.
The company said this investment will accelerate its streaming technology and content initiatives as it aims to build a social experience platform for the virtual world.
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"Loco is turbocharging the modern fan experience, enabling users to interact with streamers in ways they could not have done before. We are enabling gamers to find their own gaming clan - supporting streamers they love, in a community where they truly belong" Pandita and Suresh said in a joint statement.
Loco says it helps beginner streamers through various initiatives including its mobile streaming app, a dedicated discover tab, and streamer programme.
It houses prominent domestic esports teams such as Godlike, XO, Revenant Esports, 8bit, Global Esports, 7Sea esports, Skylightz Gaming, Hyderabad Hydras, and OrangutanGaming and has hosted tournaments in partnership with global publishers like Krafton, Activision, Ubisoft, and Riot Games. The startup claims that users spend over one hour on its platform on a daily basis.
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Loco said it has built a direct API integration with Krafton to enable a better play and watch journeys for fans and is currently in the process of building in-game integrations with other international partners. It has also partnered with brands such as NBA, Logitech, and Red Bull to run India-focused esports programs.
"Users between the ages of 10 and 30 form the bedrock of gaming and esports communities worldwide and India is one of the most interesting global gaming markets, with 40% of its population belonging to this cohort. We believe this new investment round will enable Loco to solidify its dominant position in game streaming and eventually provide the Indian gaming community with cutting edge Web3 products and services" said Ethan Kim, Co-founder and Partner, Hashed.
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India's game streaming market is dominated by Google’s YouTube, with local upstarts such as Loco and Lightbox-backed Rooter vying for a sizable share of the market. Facebook is also making its presence felt in the segment with a concerted push to capitalise on the gaming boom in the country.