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IPO Ready! How Nazara Never Lost Focus On Profitability And Value Creation For Investors

IPO Ready! How Nazara Never Lost Focus On Profitability And Value Creation For Investors

Nazara announced IPO plans in 2017, and now 3 years later, the organisation is said to be in the technique of submitting its prospectus

WestBridge Capital invested $three Mn in 2005 and after a partial exit in 2017, it's miles now all but exiting the cap table with a minor stake pending

WestBridge’s Sandeep Singhal believes Nazara founder Nitesh Mittersain’s vision even within the early days and consciousness on sustainable boom become a decisive factor within the investment

Three years after first saying its public listing plans in 2017, and two decades after incorporation, Nazara is ultimately prepared. 

The gaming company is fast coming near an IPO in India and media reviews count on the company to document its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with SEBI soon. Exits are tough to come with the aid of inside the Indian startup ecosystem, more so, a public list. This approach investors become anticipating a protracted time period to obtain liquidity.

In Nazara’s case too, one of the early buyers, WestBridge Capital, has been on the corporation’s cap table due to the fact that 2005 when it invested $3 Mn. The non-public fairness fund saw a partial exit in 2017, which delivered down the investment company’s 60% stake in Nazara to 21%. Now with the IPO, WestBridge Capital is envisioned to dilute its stake from the current 21% to approximately 3%-4%. 

So didn’t the delay in public listing fear WestBridge Capital? For Sandeep Singhal, the investment company’s founder and MD, there has by no means been any hurry in terms of Nazara. And this has loads to do with the way Nazara founder Nitish Mittersain has stewarded the deliver and managed the enterprise’s finances and nonetheless executed increase.

“From our perspective, something cash Nitish (Mittersain) raised from us, he never truly spent it. It continually went into the bank, he saved producing earnings and the enterprise stored growing the coins reserves. So that is one of those conditions, in which we did not have to fear about out of doors this,” Singhal instructed Inc42.  

Nazara’s Frugal Philosophy

Founded  many years in the past in 2000 by way of Mittersain, Nazara has seen the Indian economic system undergo waves of peaks and troughs — from the grave impact of the dotcom crash of 2003-2004 and this has incorporated risk mitigation within the agency’s DNA. 

“Because of my very own revel in with the dotcom crash, I even have emerge as very averse to losses and taking any form of threat or debt, and many others. Early on, we decided that we want to turn out to be a profitable agency with actual coins flows and now not chase any arrogance metrics. Therefore even after WestBridge funds came in, we have been not truly shaken out of that core DNA,” Nazara’s founder and MD instructed us. 

Even after WestBridge Capital’s funding got here in, the organization changed into no longer in reality shaken out of that core DNA and persevered to conserve coins. This helped make bigger the runway when the gaming industry had now not definitely taken off in India. Mittersain recollects that even as many different competing corporations raised more cash than Nazara and burnt it in chasing vanity metrics. The organization changed into able to sustain $3Mn for a long term and grew to become worthwhile in 2008. 

“If we had been no longer cautious, we could have effortlessly burnt it before the market turned into ready to monetize and our survival could have been a undertaking,” Mittersain delivered. However, he become also quick to factor out that the instances have modified these days and the mission capital market in India has evolved a great deal extra than before. 

Today, Nazara is a global gaming and sports activities media organization with a community of over one hundred Mn gamers in India. The organisation published revenue of INR 264 Cr in FY 2020, developing from INR 164 Cr in 2018-19. 

The Quest For A Gaming Ecosystem

Something changed in 2018 whilst Nazara grew to become its focus on developing a gaming ecosystem as opposed to simply one company. It has on account that received various gaming businesses with the imaginative and prescient to build the “Friends of Nazara” ecosystem. These encompass names like HalaPlay, Nodwin, Next Wave Multimedia, Hash Cube, Mastermind Sports, Moonglabs Technologies, Bakbuck, CrimzonCode, InstaSportz, NZWorld, HalaPlay, SportsKeeda, and Paper Boat Apps.


“Since 2018, we have invested time in absolutely growing the business through a couple of acquisitions and increasing our platform portfolio. It has taken us 2-3 years to really create that but nowadays, we feel we've got a much more potent platform. We are at a factor where we see a number of those actions translate into outcomes,” said Mittersain.

When Nazara began acquiring several groups, they were nevertheless gauging on how to impact the overall performance of those organizations definitely and how to manipulate them after the purchase. Mittersain recounted the many cautionary memories of M&As in the enterprise, because of lifestyle clashes and other tender conflicts — so the agency wanted to commit -three years in trying out this approach and integrating those acquisitions organically. 

And now in 2020, the business enterprise is feeling assured of the purchase strategy and might continue to grow with wide-open eyes for any new acquisition possibility that might show important for the boom of Nazara’s surroundings. 

Diversification has been a key issue for the worthwhile growth of Nazara, as it enabled the organization to preserve for a very long time in the Indian marketplace which has only these days woken as much as its on-line gaming potential. But how does one choose the increase sectors in a but nascent enterprise?

“What we’ve been careful approximately is not to get carried away by means of companies that could appearance very interesting in terms of the destiny, but might not have a near-time period business model,” stated Mittersain. For example, digital reality seems very exciting but it’s still two years far from reaching big scale revenues. Nazara lives by means of the philosophy of being at the brink, but not on the cutting edge. Because one will need to bleed a lot at the slicing area. 

“What Nitish does really properly is to manipulate chance right. There were so many innings of the telecom industry in India that might have affected gaming businesses. But he made positive that he wasn’t ahead of himself —  not too long ahead, assorted sales outside India and kind of thought about all the chance control issues,” Singhal added. 

What 15 Years Of Investor-Investee Relationship Means

Fifteen years in the past, when WestBridge Capital invested in Nazara, gaming in India was a motel of the privileged. Mobile telephones were not effective sufficient to function as gaming consoles and broadband turned into both reserved most effective for the prosperous instructions or become woefully inadequate to sustain gaming on line. While the hope become usually there that matters could trade and India might trap up with the West, It changed into a hazy future for both Nazara and gaming, to place it mildly.

“Our funding was nearly mainly round Nitish and what he notion of the future opportunity. Because he seems younger now but he changed into in reality younger at that point in time. We positioned our guess on how he idea of gaming becoming a large aspect for a lot of young Indians over the years,” said WestBridge’s Singhal. 


On the alternative hand, for Mittersain, the WestBridge funding got here as a validation that the employer may be a hit within the destiny. He believes the WestBridge funding turned into the first milestone for the corporation.  To WestBridge’s credit score, Mittersain cited that the fund introduced Nazara to E&Y and guided that company governance is very important for a organization. This lesson for a young Mittersain proved to be extraordinarily valuable in the startup’s journey to an IPO.

“In the preliminary 3-four years, we have been nonetheless trying to determine out how to make cash. We were trying to do loads of things, however there was plenty of patience from WestBridge. Sometimes, while there's a lack of endurance, it can affect a young entrepreneur. But it became never the case with WestBridge,” the founder recalled. 

Now in 2020, Mittersain feels that even as the possibility has grown immensely since 2005 when matters appeared murky, the gaming enterprise and Nazara are simply getting started out. “I think there’s a variety of synergies now that we will exploit. The following couple of years will be as interesting because the ultimate  years.”

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