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Gujarat Lions owner Intex invests in sports engagement platform Rooter
MUMBAI: Rooter, the digital platform that helps sports audiences interact with each other in real time during sports events, has raised an undisclosed amount of fund from consumer electronics brand Intex, which also owns temporary IPL franchise Gujarat Lions.
This round of funding will help accelerate the platform’s expansion into South-East Asian markets and catalyse partnerships with sports teams and leagues all around the world. Rooter’s ambition to carry out merchandising activities and possibly fan–player interactions will also get a boost. It will also be able to leverage the tech infrastructure of Intex.
The sports social engagement app earlier raised funds from Dhruv Chitgopekar and Prantik Dasgupta. It also holds the distinction of being the first venture that Bollywood star Boman Irani has invested in as an angel investor.
The freshly infused capital will be utilised to strengthen the tech team at Rooter, all the while maintaining a lean structure. It also aims to add more numbers to its sales and marketing team and the content division to bolster the vernacular versions of the app.
Rooter is hailed as one of the most unique ideas to emerge out of the Indian start-up ecosystem, with no pre-existing business model to follow anywhere in the world. With user engagement features such as live-match prediction, quizzes and chat forums becoming extremely popular with users, Rooter’s audience base and the time spent by an average user on the app has increased significantly.
With the approaching sports season, Rooter hopes to far exceed the 50,000+ downloads it currently sits on, and aims to cross half a million downloads by the end of the IPL. Rooter will benefit from the state-of-the-art technological set-up of Intex, access to which can help reduce Rooter’s R&D costs. The ready database of Intex will also be a goldmine for Rooter to find new users.
Commenting on the funding, Rooter founder & CEO Piyush said, “It gives us immense pleasure to receive funding from Intex, one of the most successful Indian IT devices and accessories manufacturers. Rooter is essentially a tech-based platform and we wanted to have an investor on board who could also be our strategic partner and help us evolve our product to fully realise its potential. Intex’s deep understanding of the smartphone world and its popularity in Tier II and III cities of India will help us to promote and develop Rooter’s unique idea further, optimising it to perfectly fit the needs of smartphone users everywhere.”
Intex has had a thriving association with sports, and its director Keshav Bansal is the youngest franchise owner in the history of the IPL. In January this year, Intex also bought a stake in the Gujarat Warriors in the Super Fight League, foraying into the comparatively unknown world of MMA fighting in India.
Bansal commented, “Rooter has a great fundamental idea, and its recent numbers suggest that its popularity is zooming by the day. As sports are an extremely emotion-driven phenomenon and the sports fan engagement platform is a completely uncharted territory, Rooter has limitless scope for growth. We feel this collaboration will be a perfect synergistic match and will enable sports fans to enjoy their favourite games like never before.”
The average time spent by a user on Rooter has gone up from 2–3 minutes in September last year to 13–15 minutes currently. The number of daily active users is also growing at a brisk pace, with Rooter looking to engage more than 20,000 daily active users by the time IPL starts. This increased audience engagement, coupled with a growing list of different kinds of sports being incorporated into the app, has endeared Rooter to its target users and has boosted its attempt to revolutionise the sports viewing experience in India and the rest of the world.
The deal was enabled by Kwan Entertainment & Marketing Solutions, and Uday Ahlawat, partner at Ahlawat and Associates, was the legal advisor for Rooter.