Startup Street: ReinGames’ Biggest Challenge Is Its Way To Salvation

Here’s what went on this week on Startup Street.

Students look at a Micromax Informatics Ltd. smartphone in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  
Students look at a Micromax Informatics Ltd. smartphone in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

This week on Startup Street, we have ReinGames which is working on a unique gaming category in India’s booming real money gaming industry. India’s Republic Day Parade 2020 will have, for the first time, a tableau depicting India’s Startup Mission. T-Hub and LetsVenture have revealed a list of 31 startups for the first edition of T-Angel. Here’s what went on.

ReinGames’ Biggest Challenge Is Its Way To Salvation

India’s real money online gaming industry has bloomed over the last three years, throwing up its first unicorn startup Dream11 early in 2019. As the industry now attracts more investors, both domestic and foreign, one nascent startup is taking the road less travelled to reach its goals.

ReinGames—founded in 2018 by Vaibhav Gupta, Himanshu Devra, Pranav Choudhury, and Nishtha Gupta—is banking on developing a unique game in an industry full of online poker, cricket and other fantasy sports.

“The single biggest challenge for us is that we’re going after new categories that don’t exist as mature, real money gaming titles,” Vaibhav Gupta told BloombergQuint, explaining how the startup now needs to educate a whole bunch of enthusiastic gamers about a new game within the concept of real money games.

But what’s this new game? “A teaser that we can give is that the theme or artwork of the game is inspired by colourful and vibrant space travel,” he said, choosing to keep the rest under wraps since it’s still in the concept stage. The startup expects to launch the game in the second quarter of 2020.

ReinGames bagged Rs 5 crore in a seed round led by Dr. Ranjan Pai’s Manipal Education and Medical Group family office and Titan Capital, besides a few high-net-worth individuals. While half of this will be used for marketing purposes, the other half will be utilised for game development, Gupta said.

The first wave of real money games in India was from companies such as Ace2Three, Adda52 and RummyCircle which specialised in card games such as rummy and poker. The second wave included Dream11 and Mobile Premier League which focused on cricket and quizzing. ReinGames itself also has a Real Money 8 Ball Pool application which has 20,000 active players who spend an average of 50 minutes on it, in a day. “The power users spend even up to 6-8 hours on our game on a daily basis.”

But for the startup to introduce a whole new game means designing the real money aspect of the game, drafting an economy that is attractive to the players as well as the company but most importantly—educating players that this game can be played with real money, Gupta said.

The All India Gaming Federation expects the industry—currently worth Rs 2,000 crore—to grow 3.5 times by 2025.

Its task is further complicated by “some of the very big players who have launched sub-standard products, thereby hampering the player confidence,” Gupta said. It hopes to counter that by letting its players spend enough playing the game to get comfortable, before they have to start dealing in real money.

This comes at a time when India has emerged as the world’s highest data usage per smartphone at an average of 9.8GB per month, according to a new report by Ericsson. While three of India’s largest telecom players recently increased data prices by up to 41 percent, ReinGames does not see it affecting its business since its application are light on data use, Gupta said. “It is content or video apps that might be the ones to feel the heat.”

Speaking about the costs of customer acquisition, which is a key spending area for the industry, Gupta said that their cost is below the industry average since it’s still young. Moreover, it is currently focusing on honing its games and features before it starts rapid customer acquisition.

ReinGames hopes to hit the 2 million-user mark by the end of 2020 across all its apps and reach profitability in the next four to six months.

Startup India Tableau In Republic Day Parade

One of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship programmes—Startup India—will see its tableau rolling down the Rajpath for the first time in this Republic Day Parade.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, which is responsible for the programme, will depict the growing startup culture in the country in its tableau, an official told PTI.

The government launched Startup India in January 2016. Under this, a slew of incentives were announced such as tax holidays, inspector raj-free regime and capital gains tax exemption.

So far, the department has recognised 27,057 startups. Of these, maximum were in the IT services space followed by healthcare and lifesciences, and education. The recognised units are eligible to enjoy incentives and benefits of Startup India.

A total of 32 states and union territories, and 24 Ministries and Departments had sent their tableau proposals for the Republic Day 2020 parade, of which as many as 22 have been selected.

The First Batch Of Startups For T-Angel

T-Hub, based out of Telangana, and Angel investors platform LetsVenture have selected 31 startups for the first edition of T-Angels—a new funding-focused programme initiated by the two.

The startups selected across industries such as technology, health-tech, ed-tech, enterprise technology will receive opportunities to raise funds from LetsVenture platform, angel networks, and venture capital funds, according to a joint statement.

T-Hub will provide the startups with targeted mentorship from the investors and experts in the field.

“They will be mentored on getting investor-ready, financial modelling, preparing for due diligence and refining their growth strategy,” the statement said. “The batch will undergo regular interventions through boot camps and dedicated mentoring to build a strong investment case, which will also help them to raise capital.”

“Since we evaluate thousands of startups and showcase hundreds of startups every year to investors, we have a vantage perspective on what investors are looking for. We bring our pool of investors and deep insights into the fundraising process improve the chances of fundraising for the cohort participants,” said Shanti Mohan, founder and chief executive officer of LetsVenture.

Some of the startups from the batch include Abda Digital, Cantilever Labs, Ideanz, Kahaniya, Movingnow, Needyin, Paxcredit, Relgo, Syntizen, Waste Ventures and Younify.