Stan is a gamified fan engagement platform that captures the crest of the Indian gaming wave with one of the most formidable teams in the sector. They partner with top content creators to help them monetize their follower base via games and real-life perks. They raised $2.5 million in their seed round in early 2022, which saw participation from General Catalyst, and several leading angels in the industry.
Having invested in the team’s first venture prior to Stan, we had closely seen the team’s ability to bring their vision to reality and grow with their business. We spoke to them numerous times to understand their vision, but ultimately, were won over by the following factors.
1. The Explosive Indian Gaming Sector
Since a major growth spurt inspired by the pandemic, the gaming industry has quickly become a force to reckon with. Already having attained a revenue of $1.2 billion in 2021, the gaming industry revenue is expected to grow to about $2 billion by 2024. Driven by rising smartphone penetration, and one of the cheapest data in the world, India is emerging as one of the fastest growing gaming populations in the world.
These factors also make India a very popular gaming capital in the world, as evidenced by the immense growth in the quotient of funding received by the sector.
Despite a fall in 2022, the funding received by the sector is still considerably above pre-2020 levels, and given moves to add greater layers of regulation to the sector, there is a significant cause for optimism in the industry.
Therefore, we are rather bullish on the Indian gaming industry, and its capability to delight people.
2. eSports’s Great Promise
While Casual and RMG do get the most credit, eSports has been momentous for the gaming industry in India. eSports is one of the fastest-growing sub-sectors within the gaming industry with a CAGR of 32% from FY22–27. Further, the industry went through a fantastic year in 2022.
eSports’s inclusion as a medal sport at the Asian Games, and as a demonstration event at the Commonwealth Games were major highlights, which were only bettered by the proclamation of eSports as an official sport in India. Despite the ban on popular titles like BGMI and Free Fire, the industry was able to remain resilient and pivot to new games to captivate audiences.
While these factors aided the gradual reduction in the stigma associated with eSports, infrastructural impetuses like the widespread propagation of tools like 5G facilitate great expansions in the reach of the industry. Such developments allow more people to become introduced to eSports both as viewers and as players. They are essential in ensuring a vibrant sector that is not infested with stagnation.
Therefore, as the gaming industry rises, eSports will become an important pillar that will cater to distinguishably dedicated strata of gamers.
3) An Exceptional Founding Team
As denoted above, the gaming industry, and the eSports sub-sector specifically, are incredibly lucrative. This also makes the aforementioned areas incredibly competitive.
Therefore, to truly attain a competitive advantage within the industry, one needs a team that is well-experienced, and shows the great ability to not just surviving but thriving within the industry.
Stan was founded by Parth Chaddha, Rahul Singh, Shubham Gupta, Naman Mulla in 2022.
All four are extensively experienced folks who demonstrated an immense capability of leading from the front, and scaling.
Parth and Rahul were co-founders of Ewar games, one of the most innovative gaming startups to have come out of India.
During their stint at Ewar games, they not only displayed considerable ingenuity, but also impeccable leadership. Shades of these impressive traits were very evident whenever we spoke to them, and greatly helped making the decision easier.
Shubham is an experienced founder who is able to marshal his multifaceted expertise into developing Stan into the most comprehensive platform for eSports fans worldwide.
Nauman comes with an impressive experience of managing eSports departments, most notably at India Today Gaming. His expertise of the domain makes him an integral asset to the team.
Finally, all of them aren’t just stellar individual performers, but also incredible leaders. This is what makes them one of the best-rounded, and inspiring teams in the corridors of the Indian start-up ecosystem.
4) Impeccably Accessible Product
With all the market factors falling into place, and having assembled one of the most formidable teams in the gaming industry’s history, Stan unveiled one of the most innovating solutions in the industry.
With gamification through digital collectibles, NFTs and real-world experiences, Stan created a framework that rewarded fan of eSports.
This was revolutionary because a fan engagement platform of such scale had never been undertaken before, specifically for eSports.
Through their immense understanding of the user persona, Stan have been able to inject a sense of fun and excitement in the entire process.
Stan allows fans to collect, play and trade collectibles of their favorite eSports players. Their decks then combat other players’. Basis the rating of the individual cards, and specific conditions, winners and losers are decided in-game. Winners are rewarded with various perks and rewards including getting a chance to even meet their favorite players. All the more, consumers can focus on increasing the strength via completing various assignments or in-app purchases. This can include the amount of time spent, spinning the wheel, purchasing coins or etc.
Ultimately, Stan is able to blend the familiar nature of deck games, the frenzied love for eSports, and the fascination with Blockchain into one accessible solution that is sure to stir even the most casual eSports fans in the country.
While its modern form is very new to India, online gaming has taken has taken India by storm. Driven by numerous factors like a young population, low data costs, and rising smartphone penetration, the Indian gaming industry will surely become one of the biggest in the world.
Amongst the pillar of the gaming industry, eSports is one of the quickest growing subsectors. Driven by a very passionate audience, the subsector is quickly rising up the ranks. This is also greatly helped by numerous events which are decreasing the stigma associated with the sector, and encouraging fans to proclaim their allegiances boldly.
To cater to the demands of this ever-expanding, and passionate audience, it is important to assemble a team that is well-versed with every pain point within the sector, and can adopt a fan’s perspective to solve them. This is precisely what grants Stan their competitive advantage.
Stan has created a comprehensive solution that is able to evoke the familiarity of card-based games, and connect people with their idols like never before. Finally, people have a platform that can reward them for their devotion to eSports, and its stars.
We are very proud to be a part of the Stan’s journey, and wish them the best.