Tendulkar-backed Smaaash Entertainment to tap US investors for USD 30million
Sachin Tendulkar-backed virtual reality-based sports entertainment company, Smaaash Entertainment is planning to raise USD 30 million from US investors to fund its expansion. Launched in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Shripal Morakhia, Smaaash Entertainment is a Mumbai-based digital entertainment company and expertise in creating a unique amalgamation of sports, virtual reality, music and dining. It provides a very immersive and interactive social experience to the young generation.

At present, Smaaash owns 36 gaming centers for sports like cricket, football and go-karting and some virtual games. It is majorly operational in India along with few centers in the US, China and the Middle East. It plans to increase the count from 36 to 60 by the end of the current financial year.

Smaaash has planned to expand globally via partnerships. For that, Smaaash has partnered with Dubai’s premier indoor cricket and multi-sports facility Insportz Club and plans to transform it into an inspirational gaming center. Company feels there is a huge potential in Saudi Arabia as there is a large population of millennial with higher disposable income. In the US, the company mainly wants to grow through a franchise model except for few fully company-owned gaming centers. At present company owns a centre in the Mall of America, Minneapolis.

The chief imagination officer of Smaaash Entertainment, Shripal Morakhia said, “We have decided to invest aggressively in India and follow an asset-light model in overseas markets. For expansion in India, I am currently talking to investors in the US and looking to close a funding of $25-30 million soon”.

He chose not to raise funds in India as the company is undervalued in India as of now. Morakhia also mentioned that currently he has 35% stake of the company and doesn’t want to dilute it in India because the investors don’t take into account the value of intellectual property, which is the key component of their company. Smaaash Entertainment has been selling proprietary VR (virtual reality) and simulator games internationally for a while now and have installed in 30 plus countries as well.

By now, Smaaash has also raised Rs 40 crore from some high profile individuals in India, including Ravi Modi, founder of clothing brand Manyavar, Lakshmi Narayanan, former vice-chairman of Cognizant and Vijaylaxmi Poddar of Balkrishna Industries. Lately, it acquired the bowling venture bluO Entertainment from PVR for Rs 86 crore and SVM Bowling and Gaming from Sri Venkateshwara Multiplexes for an unrevealed amount.