India-based esports and gaming firm Nodwin Gaming announced that it has secured a $22.5M USD (164 Crore INR) investment from South Korean game developer and publisher Krafton, Inc. Nodwin is a subsidiary of Mumbai-based gaming and sports media platform company Nazara Technologies, while Krafton is best known as the owner and publisher of PUBG and PUBG Mobile.
Nodwin Gaming co-founder and Managing Director Akshat Rathee said that the investment will be used to scale up in regions where it already has a foothold and expands beyond those borders. Those regions include South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (with a focus on continuing to work from Dubai). It will also use the funds to continue to build out infrastructure and make improvements in its existing operations, and support talent.
Beyond expanding its footprint in and around regions where it already has a presence, Rathee said that this investment will allow the company to consider creating franchising models and to consider building out esports around “real sports” such as Cricket and soccer in India and other regions where the sports are super popular.
Rathee declined to disclose in percentages how much of a stake Krafton would have in Nodwin, citing future plans by its parent company to file for an IPO in the not-too-distant future, and Krafton’s plans to do the same in the next 12 – 18 months.
This latest round of funding follows previous investments from Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Nazara Technologies Limited and JetSynthesys Private Limited backed by Infosys Limited co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan. Nazara will continue to have an “over 50%” stake in Nodwin, according to the announcement.
At the end of the day, Rathee says that Nodwin will continue to operate as it has been with additional support from Krafton and it is not locked down in what it is doing now or in the future.
“This is a minority investment [Krafton], not a majority investment,” Rathee said. “This is not me selling my soul to Krafton. I think it’s the other way around. I think that we give them more options to go out and do new esports across the world. And they have not ever asked Nodwin to not do anything except Krafton games like PUBG. They are saying ‘do whatever is the right thing to do.’”