New Delhi: Stride Ventures, one of India’s leading venture debt funds, has led a INR 17 crore debt round in Pocket Aces – India’s digital entertainment company focused on solving boredom for the country’s large digital consumer base. Stride will be a strategic partner in Pocket Aces’ growth journey with their customized offerings and deep relationships across banks and corporates.
Since its inception, Stride Ventures has focused on investing in market leaders across sectors. This partnership with Pocket Aces is the twelfth investment from Stride Ventures’ maiden fund, marking its foray in the digital media and entertainment space as gaming and OTT has had a breakthrough year with industry revenues surging and subscriptions rising through the lockdown.
On the funding, Ishpreet Gandhi, Founder and Managing Partner, Stride Ventures, said “Pocket Aces has truly pioneered digital content in India through its data driven approach to content creation. More importantly, the company creates highly relatable content, making it appealing especially for the younger demographic. At Stride, we strive to partner with indigenous companies which have the ability to scale up rapidly by leveraging technology and we see Pocket Aces as a great addition to our portfolio.”
Aditi Shrivastava, Co-founder, Pocket Aces, added, “2020 was an unprecedented challenge for humanity and we were privileged to entertain the Indian audience during this difficult time. The lockdown accelerated adoption of digital media as the primary source of consumer entertainment , and so we innovated rapidly to ensure that we could continue to thrive and increase content output in this new normal. As a result, we saw growth in all our major business lines this year. As we go into 2021, we are more excited than ever about the size of the entertainment opportunity in India and are happy to partner with Stride Ventures on our growth journey. This debt instrument is one of the first of its kind for the sector and we think it underlines Pocket Aces’ leadership of the sector as well as the innovation focus of Stride Ventures.”
Pocket Aces will utilize the capital raised to scale the current content output and invest further in new content formats and distribution channels. In 2020, Pocket Aces released multiple shows across its channels that kept audiences gripped with stories of love, life, and the new normal. The company has worked with over 100 brands across sectors including Tinder, Hindustan Unilever, PureMe, Bacardi, Unacademy, Mondelez among others. On the other hand, its game streaming and esports platform Loco, has hosted some of the biggest mobile gaming tournaments India has ever seen. Loco also saw entering into strategic partnerships with Red Bull, Fnatic, NBA 2K League, and other leading brands in their categories. The year also saw Pocket Aces launch Clout, its talent management division, which exclusively represents over 60 of the digital industry’s finest and most popular faces.
The investment in Pocket Aces reinforces Stride’s continuing preference for homegrown startups that have shown strong company fundamentals. Stride Ventures launched its maiden fund in 2019 and plans to invest in 25-30 startups through Stride Venture India Fund I.