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FSIF buys minority stake in Shripal Morakhia’s Smaaash

MUMBAI: FW Sports Investment Fund (FSIF), FidelisWorld’s sports dedicated private equity fund, has made its second major investment by acquiring a significant minority stake in Mumbai-based Smaaash Entertainment.

This is Smaaash’s first round of private equity funding. With FSIF investment, Smaaash now boasts of a total equity capital base of approximately Rs 150 crore ( Rs 1.5 billion).

Smaaash is a sports-centric entertainment centre located in the Lower Parel area of Mumbai. Promoted by entrepreneur Shripal Morakhia and backed by broadcaster Star India, Smaaash counts Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar among its strategic investors.

Smaaash will open multiple centres across India and also has plans to go global. “Smaaash is an emotionally and physically engaging proposition that uses technology to meet consumer aspirations. We are very excited at having FSIF as our partner. Our plan is to open multiple centres across India and globally over the next couple of years. FSIF’s involvement will help us immensely with our global plans”, said Smaaash founder-director Shripal Morakhia.

EY India acted as the exclusive investment bankers on the transaction and J. Sagar Associates acted as the legal advisor to FSIF.

EY India Partner Ajay Shah said, “Smaaash now has a total equity capital base of approximately Rs 150 crore. This capital base will be a catalyst for the company to achieve its aggressive expansion plans and meet its objective of providing social entertainment via a fun-filled, value-for-money experience.”

“The advanced simulators at Smaaash are fascinating and are very close to real life experience. Sporting enthusiasts can leverage the technology at Smaaash to harness their skills and gain experience of challenges faced on the field. The facilities at Smaaash cater to the demands of the young, sporting minds of the nation,” added Tendulkar.

“Smaaash demonstrates creativity and innovation at its best — principles that form the very core that drives Star. That innovation has meant that Smaaash is quickly emerging as the sports entertainment destination among today’s youth,” said Star India COO Sanjay Gupta.

“We are very proud to partner this unique venture and its team led by Shripal from its very conception to pilot and now its growth phase. There’s no doubt Smaaash will soon grow to be one of the biggest global enterprises in active sports entertainment.”

FSIF is the region’s first sports-dedicated investment fund with commitments at first close of $100 million. The final target size of the FSIF is $200 million.

Earlier this year, FSIF had acquired a significant minority stake in Technology Frontiers, a leading global provider of in-stadia activation solutions. The fund is led by Anand S. Krishnan, who has earlier been a managing director at JPMorgan in the Americas and Asia.

“Smaaash leverages sports as a medium to connect with customers – families, corporates, and retail. The company is uniquely positioned to expand its footprint throughout India and worldwide. Its innovative, differentiated, and aspirational offering addresses the bourgeoning demand for active entertainment. We are excited to be a part of this story and look forward to working with the SMAAASH team,” said Krishnan.

Krishnan and Sripat Pandey will be joining the board of directors of Smaaash.