Game streaming platform Loco raises $42 million to build ‘Twitch for India’

Game streaming startup Loco said on Thursday it has raised $42 million as it looks to build what it has described to some investors as “Twitch for India.”

Hashed, Makers Fund, Catamaran Ventures, Krafton, Lumikai, Korea Investment Partners and Hiro Capital invested in the startup’s Series A financing, which gives Loco a pre-money valuation of about $145 million, according to two sources familiar with the matter. TechCrunch earlier reported about the deal.

The startup — run by Anirudh Pandita and Ashwin Suresh, who previously co-founded content platform Pocket Aces — has raised about $51 million to date. Pocket Aces acquired Loco in 2018.

Loco has partnered with several game publishers, including PUBG Corporation, Activision Blizzard and Riot Games for licensing, securing what an investor described as “first-mover advantage.”

On its app, users watch and interact with streamers and support them with virtual goods (read: micro-transactions).

Loco has amassed 5.3 million monthly active users, 450,000 of whom use the service each day, according to sources familiar with the matter. About 45,000 gamers stream on the app, the sources said.

“YouTube offers a leading signal for this gaming content demand, but its product is not built for the game streaming market,” the startup said in its investor deck. Users on the platform were spending as much as 27 minutes each day as of October 2021, Loco said in a slide.

According to industry estimations, there are about 100 million users in India who play battle royale games each month, compared to China’s 700 million. “While demand is continuing to grow, gaming community and content supply have not been built by any platform in India,” Loco said in its investor deck.

“Loco is the leader in game streaming in India and has the country’s most engaged community of gamers on its platform,” Ethan Kim, co-founder and partner at Hashed, said in a statement.

“Users between the ages of 10 and 30 form the bedrock of gaming and esports communities worldwide and India is one of the most interesting global gaming markets, with 40% of its population belonging to this cohort. We believe this new investment round will enable Loco to solidify its dominant position in game streaming and eventually provide the Indian gaming community with cutting edge web3 products and services.”