Loco, an Indian streaming platform for video games, received $9 million from investors including South Korean gaming company Krafton Inc. in its first fundraising effort to capitalize on the growing popularity of games-based entertainment in the South Asian nation. The round also saw participation by Lumikai Ltd, Hashed, Hiro Capital, North Base Media, Axilor Ventures, and 3one4 Capital.
The Mumbai-based company will use the funds to enhance its technology and gaming content. With this raise, Loco will also spin off into an independent entity from its parent, Pocket Aces. Loco has expanded rapidly in the past year, with monthly active users growing six times and monthly active streamers increasing 10 times.
“Cheap data and inexpensive phones brewed a perfect situation in India, creating a completely new category of entertainment,” co-founder Anirudh Pandita said in an interview. “Over 100 million monthly active users in India engage with these games, imagine 100 million people playing a sport that no one’s watching — that’s what Loco set out to solve for.”
Loco was started as a live trivia game show app in 2017 by Abhishek Madhavan, Chetan Dembre, and Sushil Dembre. The trio sold it to Pocket Aces, a local digital media entertainment company, a year later. Under Pocket Aces, set up by Ashwin Suresh, Anirudh Pandita, and Aditi Shrivastava in 2013, Loco continued building and expanding its game streaming platform.
“Over two-thirds of India’s millennials are gamers,” said Salone Sehgal, general partner of Lumikai. India’s esports and streaming industry is set to grow at an average annual clip of 36% over the next three years, while game streaming watch time in India is already twice the global average, he added.
Loco has been a pioneer in the game live streaming and esports sector in India, paving the way for gaming to go from a niche hobby to a mainstream national interest, the company said. The “Made in India” platform is home to India’s most popular streamers such as Sc0ut, Jonathan, Mavi, Thug, Ghatak, Sumit, GTX Preet, Snax, Xyaa, GamingworldVerified, PsychoVerified, Pooja Gaming, Hardcore Gamer, and me2Gaming.
Loco has become one of the top seed-funded startups in India. The list includes Acko, CRED, IndMoney, Jupiter, Uni, EpiFi, Velocity, and Mosaic Wellness.