*WinZO gives complete exit to Hike through a $12MM share buyback*
New Delhi, 3 May 2021: WinZO, India’s largest vernacular social gaming platform, has given a complete exit to its early investor Hike with four-fold returns on their investment in May 2019. This comes after the Series B funded gaming start-up raised additional $13 million capital from its existing investors- Stephan Pagliuca, Makers Fund, and Courtside Venture. It is noteworthy that these investors had led the $18 Million Series B fund raise for WinZO in September 2020, taking the total fund raise tally for the three-year-old startup to $38MM.
This exit transaction, which has received a nod from the Ministry of corporate affairs (MCA), saw WinZO buy back Hike’s share for $12 million, making it one of the largest buy back transactions by an early-stage start-up in the Indian start-up ecosystem. Hike had earlier participated in the $5 Million Series-A funding in WinZO back in 2019 and has received 4X returns within a span of 18 months.
Earlier this year, Hike had announced shutting down its primary messaging business and launched a conflicting gaming app Rush, similar to WinZO. Post Series B in Sep’20, WinZO had reportedly waived off the non-compete for Hike alongside withdrawing access to the board and the Company.
Paavan Nanda, the Co-Founder of WinZO said, “That’s correct. Hike’s been given a complete exit from WinZO. As Founders, we are super chuffed and humbled to have a Board that is extremely bullish, and completely aligned with the audacious goals we have set for ourselves. They had immensely supported the Company through the process.”
Singapore based global interactive entertainment investor Makers Fund, New York based Courtside ventures and Stephan Pagliuca who is the co-chair of Bain Capital, co-owner of NBA team Boston Celtics and an early investor in gaming major, Epic Games made their first investment in India last year through WinZO’s $18 million series B fund raise. An additional infusion of $13 million within a short span of just six months from the Series B investors highlights their confidence and faith in the founders’ vision for the company and the strength of the business.
WinZO which is a pioneer in the fast-growing social gaming industry in India saw unprecedented growth over the last one year during the ongoing COVID pandemic. It is widely regarded for its innovative models to empower its stakeholders through democratizing entrepreneurship among the game developers, content creators and content translators. This is testament to the company’s vision aligned to the Prime Minister’s Atma Nirbhar bharat initiative. WinZO has also announced a game developer fund - II of a $5 million corpus post its series B fund raise. It has also announced initiatives to groom the aspiring content creators through structured training programs.
About WinZO: WinZO is India’s largest vernacular social gaming platform. It hosts 80+ games served in 5 formats to the users in 12+ regional languages. The diverse game offerings include hyper casual games such as Candy Crush, Metro Surfer, Carrom, Chess, Ludo, Pool to Mid-core flagship esports IPs like Free Fire. It has a registered user base of 40 million + users with a strong foothold in Tier II-V cities and rural India. WinZO is on a mission to create a highly personalized and localized social gaming platform powered by Microtransactions. Users can enjoy multiple engaging gaming formats in their preferred language within a strong community. Founded by Paavan Nanda and Saumya Singh Rathore, WinZO has been delivering strong positive unit economics in the Indian gaming ecosystem.
WinZO is backed by Makers Fund, Kalaari Capital, Courtside Venture Partners, and a number of others. The Company has raised a total of $38MM so far.