Dream11’s Growth Story to Become India’s Biggest Fantasy Sports Platform

Blog/ June 25, 2020

When IPL launched in 2008, Harsh went looking for a similar platform to play online fantasy cricket in India, having already experienced the thrill of playing EPL fantasy football since 2001. He was shocked to see that in a country where cricket is a religion and watched by hundreds of millions of Indians, fantasy cricket was non-existent. Harsh was passionate about solving this problem and asked his friend, Bhavit if he wanted to join him. 

Together, in 2008, they launched Dream11 in a small office in Mumbai. The duo started experimenting with various formats on Dream11 and pivoted multiple times over the span of three years. In 2012, “growth hacking” was the buzzword and the Founders started learning everything about A/B testing, cohort analysis, retention etc. to arrive at the right product-market fit for the business. With a fresh start, they removed every offering and sticking to the basic purpose of offering fantasy cricket.

It worked! The numbers gradually started picking up, and Dream11 found the first investor in the form of Kalaari Capital in 2014. And then there was no looking back. With 150+ rejections over 3 years for the Series A funding, to becoming India’s First Gaming Unicorn in 2019, the journey has been incredible for the Mumbai-headquartered company.

From a few lakh users in 2015 to 8 Crore+ users today, Dream11 has changed the way Indian sports fans connect with sports they follow by introducing multiple sports like football, basketball, hockey, kabaddi, volleyball, baseball, handball over the years.

The number of users who started following and playing across a diverse set of sports is surprising! Sports like kabaddi and hockey were alien concepts for fantasy sports and with Dream11 launching the same on their platform, it has now seen a massive uptick in user adoption. 

Witnessing an increase in sports fans appetite for deeper and meaningful sports engagement, the Founders starting implementing their vision to “Make Sports Better” by introducing new brands under the parent company – Dream Sports. This led to the launch of  India’s first multi-sport aggregator platform ‘FanCode’, and a sports accelerator in the form of ‘DreamX’ which powers several new start-ups in the sports technology space. A desire to bring about a positive impact in Indian sports at the grassroots level has been driving the efforts of Dream Sports Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dream Sports.

The team has grown from 2 Co-Founders to 400-odd Sportans today and Dream Sports’ culture of DOPUT (Data, Ownership, Performance, User First, and Transparency) remains at the core of this. 

Dream11 #CantStopWontStop and will keep working towards the Dream Sports’ Vision to ‘Make Sports Better’.

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