INTERVIEW: Kajal Aggarwal turns investor with a bet on Okie Gaming that features regional games like 'Dahi Handi' and 'Vallam Kali'
actress Kajal Aggarwalhas picked up a 15% stake in the recently launched startup Okie Gaming.
- While this may be the first investment for the actress in a startup, she believes there will be more.
- The Okie Gaming platform is also launching a ‘Desi Sports League,’ which will launch one game according to each Indian state’s traditions.
“While I was associated with Okie Ventures, I felt their gaming platform had a very immersive experience. I’m very happy about the fact that the games are going to be centered around mythology, folklore and Indian culture. This gives a very different and unique experience to the users,” Aggarwal told Business Insider in an interview.
The actress shared that with this strategic investment, she will be helping the startup in its promotions, marketing and PR and attract new users to the platform. “I’m also very happy to give my inputs on different sorts of games. I also want to bring in more women into the gaming industry – as users, developers as well as protagonists of the game,” she said.
While this may be the first investment for the actress in a startup, she believes there will be more. “With Okie Gaming, I’m very confident about the team and the platform. It’s definitely the first of many investments,” she said.
Okie Gaming – betting on regional games
The Okie Gaming platform which was launched recently, already has real-money games like Smart Housie, Fantasy Cricket, Smart Number Quiz, Ludo, Cricket, Smart Words, among others. The platform is also launching a ‘Desi Sports League,’ with plans to launch games showcasing each Indian state’s traditions. This will begin with the launch of Dahi Handi from Maharashtra and Vallam Kali (Boat Racing, Kerala) which will be launched by December.
“We started developing a regular real money gaming platform from February 2020. When we were thinking what next, we thought why go behind the typical games as there is no experience to it. We thought of giving a new experience to the user. When one of my colleagues suggested why not make a boat race game, and that’s how Desi Sports League was born,” Jitin Masand, CEO, OKIE Ventures told Business Insider.
Masand is also building on the Atmanirbhar initiative of the Indian government by encouraging ‘very Indian’ games. “We’ll have 12 games by next year,” said Masand, who took a conscious decision to stay away from real money gaming where there is a confusion between the game of skill and game of chance.
“We want to promote Indian culture and aesthetics in gaming and take it to the world,” said Masand, who has himself invested ₹4 crore into developing the platform.
Masand also said that they are focussing on India’s Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets where they are not targeting payments online but are instead going for the old school method of recharging from the nearest kirana or mobile recharge shop. The minimum amount to play a game is ₹10. “We are going with the offline distribution of e-recharge. Users can recharge their Okie Gaming wallet from the shop and we have already onboard 10,000 retailers across West Bengal and Tamil Nadu,” said Masand.
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