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Dream11: India’s Fantasy Gaming Pinnacle

IPL & DREAM11 and MS Dhoni

Dream11 is one of the most popular fantasy sports platforms and the first one in the country. The fantasy sports industry has boomed in India recently, and the credit goes to Dream11.


Image Courtesy: sportzcraazy

The users may win money depending on the match performance of the players on their chosen teams. If the chosen player performs well, the users get monetary incentives. Furthermore, Dream11 allows its users to participate in games such as cricket, football, kabaddi, and Basketball.

Let’s look at how this dream became a reality…

Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth founded Dream11 in 2008. Initially, it was an ad-based free for all sports application where people could form communities and discuss sports and could read blogs with some fantasy leagues based on different sports. But this model didn’t bring them success and due to no growth, the founders decided to change the approach.

Challenges faced:

Every unicorn was once a struggling start-up and Dream11 just went through the same route.

First, a lot of them have a misconception in India where they think fantasy gaming is gambling. So, it was hard to crack this construct for the company to get legal permission for their startup. At last, legal permission was obtained because the founders managed to present the difference between gambling and fantasy gaming as it requires knowledge and skill of the game and it doesn’t depend on the probability factor as gambling does.

Other difficulties were Creating a brand image, finding a business market, and an appropriate office location, and planning & implementing suitable technologies as this was an entirely new thing for a market like India.


In 2012, they introduced freemium fantasy sports in the Asian nation for cricket fans. In 2014, the company reported 1 million registered users, which grew to 2 million in 2016 and increased to 45 million in 2018. It is a member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) and is the beginning member of the Indian Federation of Sports gambling (IFSG).

In 2017, allied with three cricket, football and basketball leagues. Hence, Dream11 tagged itself as the official fantasy partner of the Hero Caribbean Premier League, Hero Indian super league, and the national basketball association of the United State of America (NBA).

In 2018 dream11 collaborated with 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 emerged as an official partner of the Indian Premier League in August 2020 after funding of 2.2 to billion dollars. The league and IPL go hand in hand and enjoy massive success.

Official Partner of Dream11, story of dream11

Image Courtesy: Dream11

Investors funding:

Dream11 could be a Series D-funded company with Tencent leading the new market. Before Tencent, Dream11’s investors include Kalaari Capital, Think Investments and Multiples Equity. In June 2018, Dream11 reported that it has 4 million users, up from 2 million users in 2017.

Dream 11 Investors

Image Courtesy:

Dream11’s Brand Ambassador

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the brand ambassador of Dream11. He launched the “Dimaag Se Dhoni” media campaign during the 2018 Indian Premier League. The brand value of the ex-Indian Cricket Team captain seems to have paid off well for the company. Since then Dream11 has partnered with various cricketers like Hardik Pandya, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, etc., with the campaign “Yeh Main Karr Leta Hoon, Aap Dream11 Pe Team Bana Lo”

Dream11 becomes title sponsor for Indian Premier League cricket

Image Courtesy: AGB

Dream11’s future plans

Dream11 had recruited Tiktoker Khaby Lame for the promotion of their brand for Rs. two crores. Khaby Lame had released its first advertisement video with the tagline ‘Dream11 per dimag laga na’. As the unicorn grows, we can expect a lot more interesting mergers.

Dream11’s achievements

Story of Startup Dream11

Image Courtesy: Dream11

  • Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest Online Fantasy Cricket Match
  • Joined the Indian Unicorn club in 2019
  • First Indian Fantasy application to have 100 million users.
  • Valuation is about 5 billion dollars.
  • Fastest growing Indian Fantasy sports platform
  • Top 10 Indian innovative companies 2019
  • CAGR: 230% (Last Three years)
  • Top 10 Most popular trends 2018 by Google
  • Secured a Spot in Inc42’s 42 Next List

So this was the success story of Dream11, paving the way and setting an example for future unicorns to follow.



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