Homegrown game streaming platform Loco has secured $9 million for its first round of fundraising as an independent company. The seed round was led by South Korean gaming firm, Krafton, as well as Lumikai, India’s first gaming and interactive media fund.
The round also saw participation by Hashed, Hiro Capital, North Base Media, Axilor Ventures, and 3one4 Capital. The new investment will fuel the platform’s innovation efforts across game streaming technology and gaming content, helping it cement its leadership position as the home of Indian gaming.
With this raise, Loco will be spun off into an independent entity from its parent, Pocket Aces, India’s largest digital entertainment company. Pocket Aces founders Anirudh Pandita and Ashwin Suresh will lead Loco going forward, while co-founder Aditi Shrivastava will continue to lead Pocket Aces.
Loco has been a pioneer in the live game streaming and esports sector in India, paving the way for gaming to go from a niche hobby to a mainstream national interest. The ‘Made in India’ platform is home to India’s most popular streamers such as Sc0ut, Jonathan, Mavi, Thug, Ghatak, Sumit, GTX Preet, Snax, Xyaa, GamingworldVerified, PsychoVerified, Pooja Gaming, HardCore Gamer, and me2Gaming.
Loco has built highly engaged communities across various games including FreeFire, Call of Duty Mobile, Clash of Clans, Grand Theft Auto (GTA) and Valorant. The platform houses India’s top esports teams like TSM, IND, 8-bit/Soul, and has hosted the country’s largest tournaments in partnership with global publishers like Activision, Ubisoft and Riot Games. It is also in the process of building in-game integrations with international partners. In addition to these partnerships, Loco has teamed up with global giants like the NBA, Logitech, and Red Bull to run India-focused esports programs.
Anirudh Pandita and Ashwin Suresh, Founders of Loco, said, “Loco is at the forefront of the game streaming revolution in India. Our platform empowers novice gamers to become household names and has built the foundation for the rise of a new creator economy in India. We are just getting started on our mission to build the home of Indian gaming and we will work relentlessly to make India a global gaming superpower. With this investment, we have been joined on our mission by the pioneers of the global gaming industry. This will enable us to create value for users in ways that no other game streaming platform in India can.”
Loco has grown rapidly over the past 12 months, with monthly active viewers scaling by 6x, monthly active streamers scaling by 10x, and live watch hours scaling by 48x since June 2020. Today, highly active users spend ~1 hour daily on Loco, making it the gaming community’s platform of choice for a seamless streaming and viewing experience.
Loco offers a slew of interactive features that other VOD-first platforms don’t offer, and the platform’s focus on mobile gaming communities helps it serve those communities in ways that desktop-focused platforms have not been able to do. Loco also helps beginner creators through various initiatives including its one-click mobile streaming app and best-in-class creator program.
Sean Hyunil Sohn, Head of Corporate Development at Krafton, said, “At Krafton, we believe gamers appetite is only increasing in consuming live video game content and Loco is best placed in India to provide a world class game streaming platform and it has built a passionate community around itself.” He added, “Krafton plans to keep investing heavily not just in gaming, but also tech, media, and other related areas to support and participate in the growth of these sectors in India.”
Salone Sehgal, General Partner of Lumikai, said, “67% of India’s millennials are gamers. The Indian esports and streaming industry is expected to grow at a 36% CAGR over the next 3 years, with game streaming watch time in India already 2x the global average. Loco is fast emerging as a market maker with an unparalleled reach into the community of Indian streamers. Anirudh and Ashwin are second-time founders with a proven track record; their combined might and experience in media, content and gaming make them primed to own the space. We are very excited to work alongside them to define the future of India gaming.”