Focused on sports tech and gaming industry, newbie venture capital firm Centre Court Capital has launched a ₹350-crore fund. It is founded by Mustafa Ghouse, former CEO of JSW Sports, along with Alok Samtaney, former investment director with TVS Capital, and Sabre Partners.

The fund has the Sajjan Jindal Family Trust as anchor investor, with Parth Jindal at the helm. Ghouse spoke with businessline on the objective and roadmap of the new fund. Edited excerpts from the interview:


What is the potential you see in the sports tech and gaming industry?

This is an untapped segment. Sports and gaming are both becoming mainstream, with the potential to grow exponentially over the next 10-15 years. India is becoming front and centre for both these sectors and, with our expertise and understanding of the market, we felt this was the right time to launch a fund to invest in the space.

So far, we have had success stories in the real-money fantasy gaming space, and names such as Nazara, JetSynthesis, and Nodwin in the esports space. We have had these handful of early movers, but we think that’s just a starting point.


Which areas are you interested in?

Studios and developers are currently what we’re looking at extensively across genres. We are looking at the content and technology space. These are our key focus areas on the sports side. It is extremely vast; we are looking at a lot of analytics, AI-driven platforms, whether from a performance improvement perspective or content and media perspective. Further, there is fan engagement, monetisation, mass participation... a whole bunch of stuff that we’ve factored in.


What is your investment target?

The investment period for the fund is 3.5 years, and we target 15-18 investments, while 40-50 per cent of the fund will be reserved for follow-on rounds. Preferably, we would like to enter in the Series A or Pre-Series A round, and cheque sizes will be in the range of ₹8-24 crore. We have raised ₹200 crore in commitments from investors and athletes, and plan to close the fund by the end of the calendar year. We have invested in two start-ups so far — one in the sports analytics space, and the other in broadcast technology.


Gaming start-ups often face monetisation and regulatory issues. Does that make them riskier bets?

We are still seeing the space evolve. Monetisation in certain aspects remains an area of focus between developers and platforms. That’s definitely something we’re tracking; but, along with user behaviour, it’s definitely changing. We are also looking at B2B businesses in the sports technology space that have better and more stable monetisation aspects and avenues.