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Mumbai-based AFK Gaming has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding. The round was led by Akshat Rathee, Managing Director, NODWIN Gaming and saw funds coming in from NODWIN Gaming, SMAAASH Innovations and three other angel investors in exchange for a 25% stake in the company. Wherein, SMAAASH Innovations has invested nearly 10% of the total amount raised.

AFK Gaming is an esports content and news media startup based in the country. Founded in 2012 by Nishant Patel, Rakesh Ramchandran and Siddharth Nayyar, AFK Gaming has quickly established itself as a top platform for quality esports content and news. Today, the company is the preferred content partner for several renowned endemic as well as non-endemic brands, organisations and tournaments.

It was revealed that the funding will be used to scale up its operations in Mumbai. Currently, AFK Gaming’s content caters to the audiences of DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike, the two popular competitive gaming titles in the country. But, this will change as the funds will allow AFK Gaming to expand its operations across game titles and geographies through written, digital, live and video content for the same. Similarly, the company’s website, www.afkgaming.com will undergo a rework with features targeted towards a global esports audience.

Sharing his thoughts on the funding, an ecstatic Nishant Patel, Co-Founder and Director, AFK Gaming said, “This is an important milestone in our journey and we’re thrilled to have an experienced set of investors putting their faith in us. Our goal has always been to create quality esports content. With this, we hope to deliver a much better online esports experience for both existing and new audiences.”

Meanwhile, Shripal Morakhia, Chief Imagination Officer & Chairman of SMAAASH Entertainment Pvt. Ltd mentioned “SMAAASH has big plans for the esports industry in 2018. Given our experience in delivering entertainment innovations to the masses especially the youth and AFK Gaming’s expertise in esports content creation, our investment in them is sure to bring out a lot more innovation in this booming esports industry. We are excited to be a part of AFK Gaming’s growth story as they embark on the next phase of their esports journey.”

Finally, Akshat Rathee, Co-Founder and Managing Director, NODWIN Gaming stated, “AFK Gaming remains a phenomenal group of talent led by Nishant. We have had a privilege to work with them over the last 3 years as clients and our investment into the next phase of growth for AFK was a natural fit. We look forward to the content and innovations they are working on”

Through this strategic investment, NODWIN Gaming and SMAAASH have made a clear commitment towards their intention of growing esports in the country.

Esports is currently one of the fastest growing entertainment cum sport industries around the world. The global esports audience totalled 322 million in 2016, up 86 million since 2015. This number is likely have grown to almost 386 million in 2017 and will continue to increase rapidly, at a CAGR of 14.0%, reaching 665 million in 2021. The Indian esports audience is still very small, with an estimated 2 million enthusiasts and 2 million occasional viewers, but this crowd is expected to grow more than fivefold by 2021 (Source: Industry Insights for Online and Mobile Gaming in India, Frost and Sullivan, January 2018); (Source: Newzoo)

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