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Excl: Nazara close to investing in two mobile gaming startups

nazaraMumbai-based Nazara Technologies Pvt Ltd, which recently floated a Rs 10 crore seed fund to back ventures in the gaming space, is in the final stages of investing in two startups in Mumbai and Bangalore, a top executive of the firm told Techcircle.in.

Nazara expects to announce the deals later this month or early next month.

"We cannot disclose the names of the investee companies as of now," said Nitish Mittersain, founder and CEO of Nazara. "These two are young startups with decent traction. While one is focusing on the global markets, the other is targeting the domestic market with their gaming products," he added. According to Mittersain, the fund will also make a couple of more investments by March next year.

The Nazara seed fund was launched in November last year with an initial investment of Rs 5 crore, and later the firm allocated Rs 5 crore more to the fund. It will invest anywhere between Rs 25 and Rs 50 lakh each in exchange for a stake.

Nazara is focused on the large mobile consumer base in India, the Middle East and Africa, as well as other global markets. In addition to developing a range of original mobile games, the company also operates a 'Games Club' and serves as an exclusive distributor for key game developers in various regions. It also owns Playcaso, an iOS and Android developer/publisher brand, a work-for-hire apps studio called nzLabs and gCity, a social gaming platform. Its customers include mobile carriers, as well as handset manufacturers.

Last year, the company had partnered with Opera Commerce, a fully-owned subsidiary of Opera Software, to deploy a mobile payment solution (called Opera Payment Exchange) for Opera Mini users in India, Africa, Middle East and Europe.

Mittersain claims that the company has been profitable since 2007, and saw over 100 per cent annual growth over the past three years.

In his view, India is at an inflection point when it comes to mobile gaming. "Indian smartphone user-base will grow to 400 million over the next two-three years. Plus, the data network has become far more efficient than it was earlier. So, we are looking at an explosion of mobile games consumption like what we have seen in China. The business models will also evolve from upfront payments to a freemium model," he said.

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