About WinZO – India’s First & Largest Vernacular Social Gaming Platform
WinZo is leading the gaming industry in India. With a huge selection of games that allow players young and old to enjoy them, the Indian online gaming market is booming. Several indoor games like ludo, pool, carrom, free fire, and others are becoming increasingly popular in India, along with all the other outdoor games like cricket, football, kabaddi, and basketball. These games allow Indian players to win real cash prizes and many other rewards.
Over the past 10 years, the country has experienced a gaming revolution that includes social gaming platforms and fantasy sports because of the many young people and the internet’s quick uptake. WinZO comes to mind while mentioning one of India’s most well-known gaming centres. The social gaming site with headquarters in New Delhi is well known for rewarding players from all across the nation with cash and prizes.
Ingeniously created as a regional gaming platform to appeal to Indian audiences in Tier 2, 3, and 4 cities, Winzo was founded by Paavan Nanda and Saumya Singh Rathore in 2018.
WinZO has an impressive selection of over 100 games, including a wide variety of well-known games like PubG, cricket, rummy, and more.
WinZO is a platform for local entertainment that uses microtransactions and provides its users with over 100 games in five different formats and more than ten different regional languages. The diverse game offerings include hyper-casual games like Candy Crush, Metro Surfer, Carrom, Chess, Ludo, and Pool to Mid-core flagship esports IPs like Free Fire.
The All India Gaming Federation and FICCI both recognize WinZO as a member. It is well-known for being the Bengal Warriors, Gujarat Giants, and Patna Pirates’ proud sponsors.
The objective while creating WinZO was to create the “Netflix of Gaming”—a single platform containing games you can play with your friends. WinZO collaborates with independent, mid-sized, and major international studios to offer a selection of games to its customers on a single platform, helping to strengthen the nation’s gaming infrastructure.
By offering them an alternate and far more effective strategy of monetization based on microtransactions rather than the traditional in-app purchases and adverts, the social gaming firm assists the developers in increasing their revenue. In India, WinZO’s partner developers have made 100 times more money from their games on WinZO than they have through other distribution channels like the Google Play Store, Apple Store, etc.
In the near future, WinZO hopes to be the platform of choice for all of its stakeholders, including game creators and Bharat’s Tier 2–Tier 5 gamers. The company innovates and introduces new features and products to empower its consumers and game developers.
Additionally, by helping housewives and college students to earn up to Rs 30,000 per month and achieve financial independence, its decentralized language management portal has empowered them. They merely had to work from home to help localize their product and add languages in this case. With guaranteed revenue streams of up to 100x, WinZO has created the Creators’ consoles for game developers to help them reach out to the business and increase their level of entrepreneurial game development.
With the use of communities and microtransactions, WinZO aspires to become a one-stop platform for all mobile-first entertainment media in India and other emerging economies.
On several levels, the corporation is empowering all of its stakeholders. The main problem WinZO set out to address was how to effectively monetize games in underdeveloped nations where in-app purchases and adverts fail. With the help of their microtransaction mechanism, which records 200 million or more monthly transactions, their partner studios’ revenues have increased by up to 100X. As a result, the model has unquestionably shown to be successful.
WinZO is third-party software that offers more than 70 casual to mid-core games in 10 regional Indian languages and five different formats. Rummy, pool, carrom, ludo, call break, bingo, chess, a 29-card game, an archery game, a bubble-shooting game, and other games are among them.
Users like the rush of rapid pleasure and competitive excitement here. Additionally, it guarantees that content is personalized to provide consumers with pertinent games based on their platform usage habits. Through features like WinZO Versus, the company is creating a community of gamers who can interact and compete with one another.
They introduced WinZO Developer Console, where any developer may register and submit content for integration on the app, making outreach simpler for developers. Over 1,000 titles have been submitted all over the world for the system, showing tremendous popularity. Additionally, it provides in-game real-time metrics for effective performance tracking and transparency. The firm offers the WinZO store, which features discounts for Gaana, Nykaa, and more.
Industry and Target Market Size
India’s internet gaming market has expanded in recent years. The Indian gaming market was estimated to be worth $1.027 billion in 2020, up from $543 million in 2016, a 17.3 per cent increase. With such growth, the sector is predicted to reach $2 billion by 2023.
Due to ineffective and unsustainable monetization techniques, many gaming companies, even international giants, have felt a gap in the Indian market. However, WinZO, realising this market’s potential, decided to enter it with the intention of thriving. The company mostly relied on Tier 2 cities and beyond to reach the anticipated expansion.
When it examined the market, the company was astonished to learn that almost 80% of active gamers in India come from non-metro areas. Yes, it was discovered that between 40% and 60% of India’s overall gaming population comes from Tier II areas and beyond. WinZO was able to scale quickly and become one of the most well-known gaming firms due to all of this. The company focuses on India’s smaller cities, where the average age of gamers is between 18 and 35.
Founders and team
Paavan Nanda and Saumya Singh Rathore co-founded WinZO.
WinZO was developed as a result of research into the revolution that Reliance Jio and inexpensive smartphones brought about in India in 2015–16 by giving customers access to powerful devices and reasonably priced high-speed internet connections, even in the most rural areas of the nation. This transformation helped India overtake other countries as the world leader in in-game downloads.
But there was undoubtedly a difficulty with effective game monetization in developing regions with major growth potential. This served as the company’s starting point.
WinZO, a subscription-based trivia app, was introduced to test the concept and track user adoption.
Based on the promising outcomes of this POC, they introduced a micro-transaction-powered vernacular hyper-casual gaming platform where users may play real-time multiplayer games for small fees of INR 2 to INR 25 and win rewards from a pool of rewards designated for them. Regional language, live competition, and affordability in consuming information while still paying for it were components of this approach. These factors combined to make WinZO an instant favourite among Bharat vernacular speakers.
USP and Innovation
WinZO has long prided itself on its unique and inclusive approach to problem-solving in the real world. WinZO identified and successfully exploited the potential of the real Bharat (Tier 2-Tier 5 towns, rural India), despite the conventional approach for any gaming company being first to target the simpler urban and tier-1 audience.
They provide support for more than 10 regional Indian languages on the app to make this possible. Bharat uses decentralised language management through their portal to involve women who labour from home and provide players with a really vernacular experience. They aim to democratize enterprise.
With guaranteed and long-term revenue streams, WinZO has assisted game developers in being more entrepreneurial in their game production. Their 80% paying active user base guarantees that the games are making money from day one with no user acquisition costs for the developers, which is important because many developers are unaware of the nuances of this challenging market.
Business Model and Revenue Model
According to the App Annie 2018 Gaming Report, India had the most game downloads while ranking in the bottom ten for in-app purchases. WinZO is trying to solve a rather simple issue: Bharat is passionate about gaming, yet Quality Studios and Independent developers do not perceive much promise in Bharat.
The WinZO Business Model is simple – Build the Gaming Ecosystem in Bharat. It aims to do that in 3 ways:
• Offer the gaming studios a one-stop game developer console where they can publish their games and make money from them.
• Charge platform commission fees on each game and, via its console, distribute the proceeds to the game developers.
• Provide students and housewives in all of India with employment options so they can contribute to its native portal’s quiz content.
WinZO – User Acquisition, Growth, and Revenue
The team has a mantra – every user should get a user. The product should do its own marketing. WinZO doesn’t think it’s a good idea to invest a lot of money in performance marketing initiatives because ROI should be the company’s main motivator.
Initially, they used the conventional Google, Facebook, and Tiktok ads to increase visitors; but they have primarily relied on growth hacks and partnerships, which have been quite successful for them.
In only one year, WinZO saw its registered user base increase by 20 million+, clocking in 200 million+ monthly transactions and spending an average of 55 minutes daily on the platform. By connecting the remote, disconnected users to the digital grid, the platform experienced major growth. On WinZO, 20% of these users made their first-ever online digital purchase.
While the platform was under lockdown, the team noticed some fascinating new trends. The number of female gamers winning on the app increased daily gameplay by 30%. The players played chess, Ludo, and Carrom more.
They prefer to play all of these games in intimate settings with their loved ones. As a result, for the year 2020, all of the measurements on the app have increased tremendously.
They are working from their office in Delhi. Of course, during the pandemic, the staff worked from home. Speaking of their journey, the company had only 5 million customers at the beginning of 2019 and over 15 million at the end of the year. Currently, they have 20 million or more users and process 200 million or more microtransactions with more than 1 billion gameplays per month.
WinZO’s revenue has increased very swiftly, and growth in FY21 was anticipated to be considerably greater. The business’s most recent increase was 600% in FY20, when its revenues were estimated to be around Rs 26.72 crore. However, the business incurred losses totalling Rs. 26.68 crore.
Given the FY21 performance, WinZO seems to have expanded during the fiscal year, which saw a 3.8X increase in its scale. WinZO’s losses were likewise proportionate to its scale-doubling expansion.
In FY21, WinZO’s losses soared by 1.9X, from Rs 26.7 crore to Rs 51.36 crore. Despite these losses, The company increased its EBITDA margins because of the expansion of its business, which went from -96.60 per cent to -48.64 per cent. According to unit economics, WinZO spent Rs 1.51 to earn $1, a decrease over the last year when the company had to pay Rs 2.02 to make the same amount of money.
Challenges For WinZO, building trust in the minds of the consumers seated in India’s interiors was the most complex task.
Because of this, they are now accessible in about 12 regional languages, and about 90% of their readership comes from Bharat’s Tier 2/3/4 towns.
Funding and Investors
K-Start provided the startup with an undisclosed sum of seed capital. Additionally, WinZO has established a $1.5 million fund to assist Indian game developers. WinZO announced raising $65 million in a Series C investment round on July 2, 2021, with Griffin Gaming Partners of California serving as the round’s lead investor. The company has so far raised $110.5 million in total from investors.
WinZO collaborates with outside game creators and assists them in hosting their games on the Android operating system. WinZO works with reputable payment partners like PayTM, Google Pay, PhonePe, BHIM, and others. To host its games on its platform and simultaneously provide monetization benefits for its vernacular audiences with the aid of the micro-transaction-backed model, it entered into a cooperation with Garena for Free Fire; Nazara Technologies. In addition, it has collaborated with Rein Games and Deftouch to provide its 20 million registered customers with multiplayer real-time pool and cricket.
It has collaborated with more than 50 independent game developers and international studios.
On June 21, 2022, WinZO made its first acquisition, Upskillz Games. WinZO bought a controlling share in Upskillz through this all-cash transaction. Upskillz Games, founded by Mannit Sidhu in December 2020, has experienced a month-over-month (MoM) growth rate of 75% since its inception. Additionally, it had 1.3 million captive customers and offered blockchain and Web3 services, all of which would now be integrated by WinZO.
Advertisements and Campaigns
Ajey Nagar, popularly known as CarryMinati, is a well-known YouTuber who has just teamed with Winzo to become its brand ambassador starting on January 19, 2022. Following CarryMinati, WinZO triumphs by appointing “BB ki vines” star and Filmfare Award winner Bhuvan Bam as its brand ambassador, according to corporate PR dated February 15, 2022. According to the Vernacular Online Gaming Giant, working with BB would help them to provide culturally relatable material that will appeal to people living in more rural areas of the nation.
On his streaming channel “Carryislive,” the Indian video maker from Faridabad, who boasts of having over 34 million subscribers, will now create intriguing game-related material that is original, captivating, and relatable. As part of this partnership, he agreed to sign up for another solo integration on his well-known YouTube channel, “CarryMinati.”
In December 2021, the Ranveer Singh movie “83” will have an official sports brand partner thanks to the New Delhi-based interactive social gaming startup.
With the help of the Ogilvy Chairman of Global Creative and Executive Chairman Piyush Pandey, India’s leading social gaming and entertainment platform will start its multilingual brand campaign in December 2021 to deliver “winning moments” via a relevant social platform.
According to sources from December 2020, the Leo Burnett Orchard campaign that used the tagline and hashtag “Jeetne mein Kick hai” obtained a creative mandate for the same.
WinZO – Advisors and Mentors
The company is being guided by Kalaari, who is not only an investor but a terrific partner, as they construct something for Bharat. It’s crucial to remember that WinZO is Kalaari’s second-largest wager in the gaming industry, trailing only Dream11. The team may learn a lot from Harsh’s experience developing a successful business in the Indian startup scene.
Revant Bhate and Rahul Garg were lucky to join WinZO very early, pushing them to develop this solution with a focus on unit economics. A fund like Kalaari has extensive exposure to what long-term strategies work and don’t work. This early insight would aid their ability to construct sustainably.
Recognition and Achievements
Since they began their journey two years ago, WinZO has won and been recognised for the following things:
- Startup of the year – Technology by Entrepreneur India in 2019.
- Inc42 Startup Watchlist: Indian Media & Entertainment Startups To Watch Out For In 2020.
- SutraHR – “100” Top Startups in India in 2020.
Winzo offers over 70 games in 5 fun game styles. Its focus for the upcoming year is quite simple: to grow ten times from where it is, continue offering users high-quality material, and create many opportunities for user participation. WinZO seeks to improve its affiliated game creators’ value propositions and add new, original content.
Like, WinZO recently partnered with Garena for Free Fire to launch its esports for tier 2/3/4 locations across India in a localized manner. The audience has responded favourably to this. More than 50 studios have joined the company’s debut of its game developer console.
Edited by Prakriti Arora