The founder of fantasy sports platform Dream11 talks to Moneycontrol’s Anchal Pathak about setting up a business in a nascent industry
What does it take for a sports fan to convert his passion into a viable business venture? Persistence of course! Dream11’s founder Harsh Jain clearly believes it takes ten years to build an overnight success. Harsh recalls how he met 40 VCs in a span of two years in an effort to convince them about the feasibility of his business plan.
The sports fan and techie is the forerunner of the fantasy sports revolution in India. Way back in 2008, when Harsh returned to India after his engineering degree, he and his friends realised there weren’t any options available for a sports fan to play fantasy sports in India.
This was a market gap that could be used to their advantage and thus, sprung the idea of Dream11. Harsh’s company now competes with 70-odd players in the industry even though Dream11 controls 90 percent of the market share.
Unlike other entrepreneurs, Harsh has a unique view of the competition. The 32-year-old believes that since fantasy sports are relatively new to India, all players can capitalise on it. In fact, he prefers calling his competitors- his “colleagues”.
Setting up a venture in a completely new industry comes with its pitfalls. The industry is too young and small to be regulated by the government and the possibility of a few bad apples contaminating it remains a constant threat. That’s why Harsh and his compatriots have set up the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming so that the industry can be self-regulated as of now.
When asked about the revenue that Dream11 generates, Harsh states they work on a freemium model. “Our entire revenue comes from the 10 percent users who have subscribed to the premium model. For the rest 90 percent, we don’t run ads or charge money for services, we just concentrate on giving them a great user experience.”
So does Harsh inculcate his love for sports in his daily life? Yes and how! Every week the company hosts badminton, football, and cricket games, in fact, as one strolls around the office space at 6:30 PM, one can see many employees gearing up for a friendly football match.
What’s in store for Dream11 next? Tie-ups with different sporting leagues and opening up the platform to various other sports like badminton, golf, and Formula One. According to Harsh, sports viewership and gaming go hand in hand. It’s been proven that there is a spike in sports viewership after sports gaming is introduced for that segment. Harsh is also hopeful that when hockey is introduced on Dream11, the sport too will witness a surge in viewership.Moneycontrol traces the journey of some of India’s most popular brands and their founders and finds out what makes them tick. So, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some business tips or just someone who loves a good start-up story, tune into Start, Up and Away right here on Moneycontrol.com.