Delhi-based online poker platform 9Stacks has successfully closed its Series A round of funding on Monday, raising some INR28 crore (US$3.84 million) from a pool of investors led by early-stage venture capital firm WaterBridge Ventures.
Monday’s round of equity financing comes less than a year after SparSkills Technologies, which owns and operates 9Stacks, raised INR10 crore (US$1.4 million) from a group of angel investors in December 2017. This time, 9Stacks plans to use the proceeds to expand its team and advance its technology, with a particular focus on user acquisition, data analytics, machine learning, and product and market expansion.
“We want 9Stacks to be the preferred platform for poker in India, especially for new players, where anyone can discover, learn and play poker, anytime, anywhere,” 9Stacks CEO Sudhir Kamath said in a statement. 9Stacks currently offers its online poker service to 24 states in India.
9Stacks is the first Indian online poker company to reach such milestone for an institutional Series A funding round. This, according to Kamath, “is a great sign of confidence” not just in the 9Stacks team, but also in the systems and processes they’ve put in place, as well as the growing online poker market in India.
In a statement, Manish Kheterpal, managing partner of WaterBridge Ventures, said: “India is at the cusp of massive online gaming adoption with an exponential increase in players and revenue expected in this sector. Real Money Gaming will have a significant wallet share of online due to ubiquitous mobile access, increasing disposable income, convenience and superior user experience. Having said that, it is an execution heavy space and we therefore chose to back a highly professional and accomplished team of founders comprising of Sudhir, Pratik [Kumar], Abhinav [Nigam] and Rishab [Mathur].”
9Stacks was founded in 2017 when Kamath, along with three of his colleagues, decided to jump into the online poker business. Kamath said the decision was due to the popularity that skill-based games have been receiving in the country, telling GLaws.in, “I always looked for opportunities that had cash flow as well as growth potential—online poker is one of those rare sectors where this combination is achievable, and that appealed to me. As a group, all four of us co-founders (Pratik, Abhinav, Rishab and I) shared the view that this is a great sector in which to build a lasting company.”