Cricket NFTs platform Rario raises $120 million led by Dream Capital


Mumbai: Cricket non-fungible tokens (NFT) platform Rario has raised $120 million, led by capital of dreamsthe corporate venture capital and mergers and acquisitions arm of Dream Sports.

Global Alpha Wave (formerly Falcon Edge Capital) participated in the round and is now joined by existing investors Animoca Brands, Presight Capital and Kingsway Capital.

ET was first to report on February 25 that
Dream Capital was in advanced talks to lead a funding round at Rario.

This marks Dream Capital’s first investment in the Web3 space and is also its largest paycheck to date on a startup.

The strategic investment will give Rario access to Dream Sports’ 140 million user base.

“…we see a compelling and sustainable use case emerging in sports NFTs as a fan engagement tool. Sports fans can now own their favorite moments and player cards and use them for various uses. Rario is a strategic fit for us and is our biggest investment,” Dev Bajaj, director of strategy at Dream Sports, told ET.

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Singapore-based Rario was founded in 2021 by sunny bhanot Y Ankit Wadhwa amid a global boom in NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

The platform has acquired the NFT rights for six international leagues and over 900 international cricketers through its various partnerships.

It recently entered into an exclusive multi-year partnership with Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association to create an Australian cricket metaverse of collectibles and games.

Wadhwa said that Rario has been able to secure the most comprehensive set of rights, including player rights.

“What this allows us is exclusive and broad access not only to NFTs of video moments, but also to player rights. Players who play for national teams and national tournaments are also part of this ecosystem,” said Wadhwa. “So what you will see with our rights is that we have the ability to create utilities with multiple interoperable games. Therefore, the same player cards can be used in multiple games. I see this as the first instance where the true usefulness of NFTs will be demonstrated to the entire world.”

The company, he said, will use the funds to secure additional rights and build products.

Rario enables fans to engage as a community, giving them the chance to own a piece of cricket history through digital collectibles in player cards, video moments and cricket artifacts. Through Rario, Indian sports fans can buy, sell and trade NFTs with credit cards, debit cards and bank transfers.

Transactions on popular NFT markets are typically done in crypto, but Rario is trying to create a framework for NFT transactions and purchases that is conducive to the current regulatory environment in India.

“Rario plans to be within the regulatory restrictions of any geography in which we operate. So, we are building a fiat-only (currency-only) environment in India,” Wadhwa said.

Profits from NFT trading are taxed at 30%.

Since 2021, Rario has sold more than 50,000 NFTs to buyers in 20 countries. The UK, US, Australia and India are its biggest selling markets.

Rival cricket NFT platform Fan Craze raised $100 million in a funding round led by New York-based global private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners with participation from B Capital recently.

US-based Dream Sports, the parent company of online fantasy gaming startup Dream11, created a venture arm in August last year with $250 million in capital, in a bid to become in a sports technology conglomerate.

It has invested in 12 startups so far, including a $50 million investment in the FanCode commerce and content platform it had incubated.

The Dream Sports portfolio encompasses 140 million users across Dream11, sports accelerator DreamX, and experiential travel company DreamSetGo.

Dream Sports was valued at $8 billion after raising $840 million in November from new and existing investors including Falcon Edge, DST Global, D1 Capital, Tiger Global and Redbird Capital. TPG and Footpath Ventures also participated in that funding round.