Dream11’s Harsh Jain Asserts there are Ample Opportunities within India

Dream11 CEO Harsh Jain

Three points you will get to know in this article:

  • Dream11 CEO Harsh Jain emphasizes focus on Indian market.
  • Jain highlights domestic market advantage and user base.
  • Government support, AI integration, and challenges in gaming industry discussed.

Dream11's Focus on the Indian Market

Harsh Jain, the co-founder and CEO of gaming powerhouse Dream11, emphasized that their primary focus remains on the vibrant Indian market. He highlighted abundant opportunities within the country and affirmed the absence of any plans for global expansion. Jain encouraged fellow startup founders to delve into the local market before contemplating international ventures.

Domestic Market Advantage and User Base

“When people inquire why we haven’t pursued global expansion, my response has always been simple: Why should we? We possess a distinct advantage. Our home turf boasts a domestic market comprising one-sixth of the world’s population. As Indians, we’re inherently positioned with a significant edge,” he expressed with conviction.

In a presentation aimed at the domestic market, Jain highlighted that Dream11 boasts a user base of 22 million, despite restricting participation in fantasy games to Indians only. He noted that the company took 15 years to reach 15 million users, but added an impressive 5.5 million customers just last year.

Support from the Government and Utilization of AI

Jain also expressed appreciation for the government’s support in fostering the growth of startups like Dream11 through promoting tech innovations. To make the most of the esports market opportunity, Jain expressed that Dream11 is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance its offerings and strengthen operational efficiency.

According to him, “I believe AI has immense potential in sports, especially in tasks like team selection and analyzing statistics. At Dream11, we’re deeply integrating AI into our operations. We’ve even established an innovation center in collaboration with Columbia University in the US. Here, we’re delving into machine learning and reinforcement learning. There’s so much we can explore in the realm of AI and sports.”

Startup India and the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI)

The remarks were made during a time when the central government has been promoting domestic startups through initiatives like Startup India and the Fund of Funds. Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized the significant role that startups will play in propelling India to become the third-largest economy globally.

Additionally, Infosys co-founder and chairman of Axilor Ventures, Kris Gopalakrishnan, highlighted India’s “unique” digital public infrastructure (DPI) during a discussion on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Infosys cofounder and Axilor Ventures’ chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan also highlighted the importance of India’s “unique” digital public infrastructure (DPI).

Challenges Faced by the Gaming Industry

It is important to mention that the domestic gaming industry has been struggling with the 28% GST requirement imposed by the GST Council last year. Despite strong opposition from gaming stakeholders, the government proceeded to enact the law.

As a result, many gaming startups have closed down or laid off employees in large numbers. In addition, enforcement agencies have issued notices amounting to crores of rupees to gaming companies in order to recover outstanding GST payments.

In December 2023, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary informed the Rajya Sabha that 71 show cause notices related to GST amounting to INR 1.12 trillion were issued to online gaming companies. Despite this, the domestic online gaming industry is still expanding. According to a report, the Indian fantasy sports sector is expected to reach a market size of INR 25,240 crore by 2026-27.Top of Form

Harsh Jain highlighted Dream11’s focus on the Indian market, leveraging a user base of 22 million and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance operational efficiency. The government’s support in promoting tech innovations was acknowledged. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kris Gopalakrishnan emphasized the importance of startups in India’s economic growth, particularly through initiatives like Startup India and the Fund of Funds. Despite challenges like the 28% GST requirement impacting the gaming industry, India’s online gaming sector, especially the fantasy sports segment, is projected to grow significantly by 2026-27.

Neha Kamath

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