Ashneer Grover is now betting on fantasy cricket with new venture CrickPe

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadFeb 28, 2023 | 10:46

Ashneer Grover is now betting on fantasy cricket with new venture CrickPe

Ashneer Grover floats fantasy sports app as the latest venture. Photo: AshneerGrover, Twitter

Ashneer Grover has rarely left the limelight after being ousted by BharatPe, the company he founded, over fraud and misappropriation of funds. While he continues to fight various legal battles, he announced last month about the latest venture. 

The Third Unicorn, where Grover said his team had been building "a market shaking business", "Bootstrapped" and "Without limelight".

The newest venture of the Grovers:

Screenshot of CrickPe website
  • Turns out this "market shaking business" is in fantasy sports arena reportedly called CrickPe, which clearly takes BharatPe's suffix 'Pe'.
  • Ashneer Grover has not yet officially announced the launch of his latest venture; however, several reports have stated trademarks being filed for 'CrickPe' by Grover and his wife, Madhuri Jain Grover.

Did you also feel underwhelmed by this revelation? 

The company has been working on the app for the past four months and has decided to launch it in the next few weeks. The app is in closed beta mode and will soon open to the public.
  • Ashneer Grover and Madhuri Jain Grover have filed for three trademarks related to CrickPe, Moneycontrol reported. 
  • These trademarks were filed between December 2022 and February 2023. 

"Creating an online community for registered users to participate in the administration of sports competitions and fantasy sports competitions and related operations, voting, auctioning, coaching, play calling, contract negotiations, salary negotiations, player trades and player drafts," Inc24 reported the trademark documents describing the service by CrickPe. 

  • The Grovers are yet to receive the trademark for CrickPe. 

The third co-founder: 

  • And also, there's a third co-founder; Chandigarh-based entrepreneur Aseem Ghavri. 
  • Outlook reports that Ghavri is a first-generation entrepreneur who comes from a non-IIT, IIM background. He also doesn't have fancy job experiences at Google or other such big companies. 
  • Ghavri tried and failed at four startups since he started his journey in 12th grade before he met Ashneer Grover to join the Third Unicorn, Outlook reports. 

The funding: 

  • Grover has reportedly raised around $4 million in the seed funding round for the Third Unicorn. 
  • Last month on LinkedIn, Grover had asked VCs to stay away from his latest venture and said that he will only be using "desi/self-earned capital".  

So, what's CrickPe all about?

  • Apparently, a website of CrickPe was up and running when Entrackr reported on it. However, the website doesn't seem to be functioning anymore. 
  • The website however seemed to be still a work in progress, with little information on what the company is about. It did ask visitors to download an app called CrickPe, which is not yet available anywhere. 
  • CrickPe wants to shake the market by bringing cricketers on board the platform and enabling players to engage and play with them. 
  • It will also allow users to play with friends like other fantasy sports apps. 
  • CrickPe, which still seems to be in beta mode, is set to compete against other fantasy sports apps such as Dream11, My11Circle, etc.
  • However, the competition is likely to be stiff whenever CrickPe decides to enter the playing field given how Dream11 currently dominates the fantasy sports industry in India. 
  • There is a possibility of CrickPe coming up ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which is set to begin on March 31. 
  • For fantasy sports platforms this period is crucial as usage spikes during the time.
  • Interestingly, CrickPe is being developed by NetSolutions India, which also developed apps for BharatMove, a retail tech company founded by Madhuri Jain Grover's brother Shwetank Jain. 
  • BharatPe had accused the Grovers and several of his family members of misappropriating funds at the company. 

The fantasy sports market in India: 

  • The fantasy sports industry in India is said to be burgeoning, with the gaming sector revenue going from $2 billion in FY21 to $2.6 billion in FY22. 
  • It is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 27%, according to gaming and interactive media venture fund Lumikai. 
  • However, competition is stiff. Recently, ShareChat shut down its fantasy sports platform Jeet11 and fired over 100 employees. 
  • Ashneer Grover himself had said that he doesn't want a big army of employees, but just about 50 people working at the new company. 
  • He also promised rewards such as a Mercedes car and more instead of gratuity for employees. 
  • Moreover, the fantasy sports industry thrives on high marketing spending, at least in the initial stages. Something CrickPe will have to fund.
  • The fantasy sports industry is also a gray area in India. All forms of gambling are banned in India, however, the fantasy sports platforms have argued that pay-to-play contests are skill-based and not luck-based. 
  • This argument has been challenged in various courts around India. Some states like Telangana, Assam, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, and Nagaland ban such online games.
  • Karnataka also passed legislation to ban online gaming apps, but it was struck down by the High Court citing that fantasy gaming was skill-based. 
  • However, there are several reports of people becoming addicted to fantasy sports platforms and losing lakhs of money. 
Last updated: February 28, 2023 | 10:46
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