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Dream11 Story - Setting Down the Success of India's Best Fantasy Gaming Application!

Company Profile is an initiative by ListMyStartUp to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Dream11.

Fantasy sport is what most young sports lovers today are crazy about. With fantasy sport, sports lovers need not just enjoy a game by being a spectator, but can also create an imaginary team (of real players) of their own choice and earn rewards when this imaginary team performs well. All thanks to the mobile and internet revolution, the fantasy gaming industry is booming in India too. With a motivated will to explore this sector, Dream11 was founded back in 2008 by two young and talented co-founders Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth.

A pioneer in the fantasy gaming segment, Dream11 is the first Indian gaming company to enter the unicorn club. Let's have a look at the journey of this Mumbai-based startup that has been recognized as one of the top 10 innovative companies in India.

Dream11 - Company Highlights

  • Startup Name-Dream11
  • Headquarters-Mumbai
  • Founders-Harsh Jain & Bhavit Sheth
  • Industry-Fantasy Gaming 
  • Founded Year-2008
  • Total Funding-$1.62 bn (November 2021)
  • Revenue-$359.03 mn million (Rs 2708.38 crore) in FY21
  • Total Valuation-$8 bn (November 2021)
  • Parent Organization/Owner-Dream Sports
  • Website-dream11.com

Dream11 - About

Dream11 is an application that allows its users to create imaginary teams. The catch here is that the users can earn cash based on actual match performance of the selected players on their teams. Each good move of the players earns cash rewards to the users. Moreover, Dream11 provides its users to play games in categories like cricket, football, kabaddi, and National Basketball Association.

Dream11 is one of India's Biggest Sports Gaming platforms and has successfully registered 100 million users in 2020, which has grown to 140 million in 2021. The total number of users registered with the app was only 2 million in 2016. Sports is a passion for many, and there are many who has very good knowledge of sports. Dream 11 is a platform that lets such sports lovers encash their knowledge and love for sports. The platform currently boasts of over 13 Crore users.


Dream11 - Parent Company - Dream Sports

Dream11 - Parent Company - DreamSports

Dream11 - Parent Company - DreamSports

Dream Sports is a sports technology company whose portfolio includes brands including Dream11, FanCode, DreamX, DreamSetGo, and Dream Pay. Dream Sports is putting the vision of ‘Make Sports Better' into action by offering a variety of ways for fans to connect deeply with the sports they love, including fantasy sports, material, commerce, experiences, and events.


Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth founded the company in 2008, and it was ranked #10 among India's Great Mid-Size Workplaces in 2019. It was also named one of Fast Company's top 10 innovative companies in India in 2019. Dream Sports' major investors include Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples Equity, Tencent, and Steadview Capital.

Dream11 Sign Up

Dream11 sign up is an easy process. However, if you are confused regarding the registration process of the Dream11 app, then here's a set of 3 quick steps that you can follow to sign up in Dream11 easily:

First, you need to download the Dream11 app on your mobile devices

Next, you need to register on the app with your mobile number and then the OTP.

Finally, you can select your match and start playing

Dream11 - Industry

The online gaming sector in India has undergone a tremendous change in the last few years. The online gaming market of India is estimated by KPMG to grow at a CAGR of 21% between FY21 and FY25, which will help the gaming industry achieve a size of Rs 29,000 crore, as of June 2021. Besides, the fantasy sports and gaming industry of India is expected to be valued at $3.7 bn by 2024 growing at a CAGR of 32%. The mobile gaming sector, on another hand, is also growing at 35% CAGR and is already a $6.5 bn market.

A report by Flurry Analytics said, "India currently ranks among the top five countries in the world for online and mobile gaming."

The target audience of Dream11 is sports lovers and enthusiasts ranging from 20 to 35 years of age. Furthermore, the company has disclosed that the maximum transaction on the platform comes from participants lying in the age group of 20-35 years. The future of fantasy sports in India is certainly huge with a lot of new players and enormous room for growth and innovation.

Dream11 - Founders and Team

Dream11 was founded by two young and aspiring entrepreneurs and sports lovers, Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth in 2008.

Harsh Jain (Co-founder and CEO, Dream11)

Dream11 CEO Harsh Jain, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with an MBA from Columbia Business School. Before Dream11, he launched and successfully led the acquisition of Red Digital (a social media agency) by Gozoop. His vision with Dream11 is to entertain sports fans with some real-time modules. Harsh Jain is currently hailed as the President of the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports, along with being the Cultural Enforcement Officer (CEO) and Co-founder of Dream11.

The Dream11 Co-founder is also recognised as the son of Anand Jain, an experienced businessman of enormous repute, who is the Chairman of Jai Corp Limited, Urban Infrastructure Venture Capital Limited, and is often considered as the third son of Dhirubhai Ambani. Anand Jain, the father of Harsh Jain has been closely associated with the Reliance Group for 25+ years and was even featured in No. 11 in the Forbes' List of India's 40 Richest in 2007.

Bhavit Sheth (Co-founder and COO, Dream11)

Dream11 COO Bhavit Sheth is an Engineer with an MBA from Bentley University (Boston) and a Diploma in E-commerce strategies from Harvard. Bhavit co-founded Dream11 with Harsh in 2008, and also stands as the COO of the company. As COO, Sheth's prime focus is on providing the best, trusted, and user-focused experience via operational excellence throughout the company's processes. Sheth was also the Co-founder of Red Digital along with Harsh, which was acquired later on by Gozoop. He was previously a Financial Research Intern at Bilav Information Services LLP and prior to that, Bhavit served as a Quality Assurance Intern at Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.

The majority of the Dream11 stakes are retained by the founders of the company, according to sources close to the company on request of anonymity.

Dream11 had 542 employees when last reported in August 2020. The employee strength of the company has remained more or less the same. Linkedin lists the Dream11 total employees between 501-1000.

Dream11 work culture is sporty and enthusiastic according to most of its employees. Dream11 is famous for a chilled-out working atmosphere where the Dream11 employees can delve into fun and games to beat boredom. The company was recognized among India's Great Mid-size Workplaces in 2019 by Great Place to Work in its list of India's 50 Great Mid-size Workplaces.

Dream11 - Startup Story | History and How it Started?

Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth, childhood sports enthusiasts, co-founded Dream11, the most well-known fantasy sports application. The Indian Premier League (IPL) was the catalyst for the new fantasy sports industry to emerge. In a country with billions of cricket fans, Harsh and Bhavit created the company with the belief that sports fantasy leagues would become a profitable service opportunity.

Harsh finished his studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia Business School and returned to India to solve a fantasy game problem. He invited others to join him in finding a faster solution to the problem. Many laughed at him, but Harsh's college classmate Bhavit Sheth decided to join him for a larger party.

In 2012, the company launched its first freemium service, and from there, the real journey began. They also sought out other investors and invited them to join their venture.

Dream11 - Mission and Vision

The Dream11 vision primarily is to "make fantasy sports a part of every sports fan's life."

Dream Sports' co-founder and CEO Harsh Jain was interviewed on November 24, 2021, where he mentioned:

"Our vision and mission is to create an entrepreneur-led virtuous cycle of investment, innovation and wealth creation for all stakeholders in the sports ecosystem, from fans to athletes, teams, and leagues," Dream Sports' co-founder and CEO Harsh Jain said in a statement on Wednesday.

Dream11 Company Logo

The name Dream11 has been chosen with utmost dexterity. Both cricket and football are really popular across the globe and all of them have 11 players mandated for any live game. Now, as the company's main idea is to let the users create their dream team, they are basically trying to create their Dream 11 squad of players.

Dream11 launched a series of 6 recent campaigns, which revolve around the tagline, 'Team Hai Toh Mazaa Hai' (loosely translated to if there's a team, then there's fun).

Dream11 - Business Model and How it Works?

Dream11 does not monetize its company through Google ads or other ad agencies. They merely make a profit by hosting fantasy games on their website. Initially, they tried Google AdSense, but they have since stopped doing so in order to provide their users with a simple and fast user experience. Do you know that only 10% of Dream11 players participate in paying contests?

This is significant because converting a free user to a paying user is difficult and expensive. Dream11 was the first app in India to launch a private fantasy gaming app. It supports all three types of gaming methods (that is freemium, premium, and private) for fantasy sports players to earn money.

They charge a fee of more than 20% of the total amount earned in a grand or small league. Any contest you enter has a set commission. Other websites, such as Halaplay or MyTeam11, have very low commissions. They don't even charge for private competitions. But why do people continue to choose Dream11? When you're playing with mates or teams, having the freedom to make your own customized contest (for example- you can form your own cricket teams) is ideal. Even then, you must pay Dream11 a minimum of 20% in fees. So they're making money while you're having fun with your game.

Dream11 - Revenue Model

The revenue model of Dream11 primarily works on two levels:

  • Entry-level fees from the participants to participate in the paid contests.
  • When the users earn on their real-time performance of the players, Dream 11 takes its cut, which accounts for about 15-20% of the total pool.

Dream11 - Startup Challenges

Being India's number one online gaming platform did not come without hurdles. First of them was the legal challenges, particularly because of its similarity to gambling, which is largely illegal in India. This made the company go through court allegations but the judiciary ruled that fantasy gaming is a game of skills rather than chances or probabilities. The industry, though growing at an ever-increasing speed, is at a self-regulatory phase.

It didn't have a lot of money at first. Dream11 began its fantasy sports business with only a few thousand dollars, but it quickly expanded and required a series of angel investor investments. The amount of money needed to run the company was extremely high. But, thanks to their negotiating abilities, they were able to find some decent investment opportunities and are almost done.

  • A few challenges it found were:
  • Getting through legal obstacles
  • Locating a business market
  • Marketing the company
  • Fixing the office location
  • Planning and implementing the appropriate technologies

Dream11 - Funding and Investors

Dream11 has raised 9 rounds of funding to date to mop up close to $1.62 billion, as of November 25, 2021. The last funding round that Dream11 has seen, was led by Falcon Edge, DST Global, D1 Capital, Tiger Global, and Redbird Capital, along with participation from TPG and Footpath Ventures. Coming in on November 24, 2021, this funding round helped it raise around $840 mn. Dream11 has notably raised fundings from numerous biggies amongst the investors including the Chinese giant, Tencent, which poured in $100 mn worth of funds via a Series D funding round of September 2018. Tencent Holdings, a Chinese multinational investment company had previously infused funding capital for many of the Indian startups including Practo, Hike, Flipkart, Ola, Gaana music app and content aggregator Newsdog.

The company joined the Indian unicorn club in April 2019 with an investment from Steadview Capital. Dream11 is backed by huge firms like Kalaari Capital, Chinese internet giant Tencent, Think Investments and Multiples Equity.

The company is further expected to raise around $400 million at a valuation of $8.5 billion in the upcoming months from a bunch of both new and old investors.

Dream11 - Marketing

Here are some of the best partnerships and marketing campaigns that Dream11 forged throughout the years:

Dream11 onboards the sensational TikToker, Khaby Lame, who is one of the most trending social media influencers of today, as their new advertisement partner. The deal is reportedly worth around Rs 2 crore, as per news dated October 6, 2021. With Khaby, the brand has successfully released its first promotional advertisement video: #Dream11PeDimaagLagaNa.

Dream11 has been promoting 6 new campaigns during the ongoing IPL 2021. These campaigns are all designed under the main tagline "Team Hai Toh Mazaa Hai", which focuses on the fans of cricket and Dream11 and their love for the game.

After technology company Vivo pulled out for a year, Dream11 secured the rights to fund the 2020 Indian Premier League for $2.22 billion on August 18, 2020. Dream11 was appointed the Official Partner of the Indian Premier League by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in August 2020.

Dream11 was revealed as the title sponsor of the Super Smash domestic Twenty20 tournament by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) in October 2019. This relationship was extended for another six years until 2026 in January 2021.

In 2018, Dream11 confirmed partnerships with the International Cricket Council (ICC), the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the World Basketball League (WBBL), and the British Basketball League (BBL). Dream11 added two new games to their website in 2018 as a result of the aforementioned partnership: Kabaddi and Hockey.

In 2017, the organization collaborated with three cricket, football, and basketball leagues. Dream11 was named the Official Fantasy Partner of the Hero Caribbean Premier League, Hero Indian Super League, and the National Basketball Association of the United States of America (NBA). Later that year, they became the official Fantasy Football Partner of the Indian Super League. The NBA and Dream11 collaborated to launch a fantasy basketball game in November 2017, and Dream11 released their official NBA fantasy game on their website.

Dream11 - Competitors

Fantasy gaming in India is at such a boom that it wouldn't be wrong to say that there are new entrants every day in the market. With Dream11 being number one in the industry there are close to 60 other online gaming platforms operating in the same genre. Some of them include:

  • FanMojo
  • Mobile Premier League
  • Ballebaaz
  • HalaPlay
  • Gaming Monk, etc.

Dream11 - Awards & Recognitions

Dream11 won the prestigious Red Herring Global 100 Award conducted by Red Herring on January 25, 2013.

According to a report by Google, Dream11 was named among the Top 10 biggest and most popular trends of 2018 in India.

In 2019, BCCI signed up Dream11 as  IPL's official fantasy sports partner till 2022. This was not only validation for Dream11, but the whole fantasy gaming sector in the country.

In 2018, Dream11 was ranked #9 among India's Great Mid-Size Workplaces

In Inc42's 42Next list, Dream11 was one of 42 innovative startups.

Dream11 - Future Plans

Dream11 and its parent, Dream Capital is now planning to expand its sports, fan engagement, and fitness portfolio in India and beyond.

FAQs

What is Dream11 app?

The Dream11 app is a fantasy gaming app created by Dream11, which is founded on January 1, 2008, by Bhavit Sheth and Harsh Jain and is currently hailed as one of India's leading players in fantasy sports industry that boasts of 10 crore+ users.

Who are the founders of Dream11?

Dream11 was co-founded by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth in 2008.

Who is the owner of Dream11?

According to sources, the majority of Dream11 stakes are still hold by its founders, who are, therefore, the owner of Dream11. Dream Sports is the parent company of Dream11. Dream Sports is a sports technology company whose portfolio includes brands including Dream11, FanCode, DreamX, DreamSetGo, and Dream Pay.

What is the Dream11 location?

The famous fantasy sports company has its headquarters in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

Dream11 started in which year?

Dream11 was launched in the year 2008.

How much is the Dream11 funding?

Dream11 funding has been last estimated to be around $1.6 bn when in November 2021 the company raised $840 mn of funding through a Private Equity Round.  

Who are the Top Competitors of Dream11?

With Dream11 being number one in the industry there are close to 60 other online gaming platforms operating in the same genre. Some of them include FanMojo, Mobile Premier League, Ballebaaz, HalaPlay, Gaming Monk, etc.

How much is the revenue of Dream11?

Dream11 reported revenue of Rs 2,070.4 crore in FY20.

Is Dream11 a Chinese app?

Dream11 is an Indian fantasy sports platform. Tencent, A Chinese Conglomerate has a 10% stake in Dream11.

Is Dream11 legal and safe?

Yes, millions of people are playing paid leagues on Dream11. It is absolutely safe and legal way to earn money. Dream11 is the largest fantasy website in India having more than 1.1 crore players.