Turnip raises $12.5 million for its first mobile gaming community platform

Turnip, an Indian startup building a mobile gaming community platform, has raised $12.5 million in a new funding round to deepen its footprint in India and dozens of other countries and try its hand at web3 as it seeks to expand its product offering.

Greenoaks and Elevation Capital co-led the startup’s year-and-a-half Series A round. SEA Capital, Vibe Capital and many entrepreneurs including Andrew Chen from Andreessen Horowitz, Sujeet Kumar from Udaan, Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar from Razorpay, Gaurav Munjal and Roman Saini from Unacademy, Lalit Keshre, Harsh Jain and Ishan Bansal from Groww and Akshay Kothari of Notion also participated in the round.

Several platforms such as Twitch and YouTube exist for gamers to help them distribute to an infinitely large user base. “But no one is solving the deeper engagement and monetization,” Pooja Dubey, founder of Turnip, said in an interview with TechCrunch. “We’ve seen these challenges taken up in other categories, but the game currently has white space.”

Turnip tries to solve this problem by allowing gamers to create a community on its app, where they can live stream gameplay from their mobile devices, engage with their fans, and monetize.

Fans watch games in the app and can interact with the person playing the game in real time via text, audio and video chats. Players can continue streaming on any platform and integrate gameplay into Turnip to engage with their best fans. They can also hold esports tournaments and master classes on the app to interact deeply with the audience.

The platform, which offers a wide range of tools and integrations, is designed to extend support to low-spec devices as well as slower internet connections, she said.

Fans can tip players in a number of ways, including purchasing items such as badges and stickers, making a one-time payment to access certain events, and also setting up a recurring payment. Payments are orchestrated at “a more granular and step-by-step level rather than asking to pay something up front,” she said. (Apple and Google take their 30%, while Turnip currently pockets around 10% commission. Dubey said that depending on the player’s usage and revenue, the startup could change its fees.)

Gaming has become a social experience in recent years thanks to the rise of interactive games such as Fortnite and PUBG and the availability of fast data speeds that allow friends to talk to each other in real time while completing missions and, usually, killing a lot. of virtual characters.

“From a design and development perspective, multiplayer games lend themselves well to social features like voice chat,” said Rishi Alwani, longtime industry analyst and communications manager at SuperGaming. “Our Silly Royale game, for example, reached 13 million downloads. With voice chat, we reached 3 million voice minutes per day,” he said.

“Today’s streamers and other creators want to cultivate deep, personalized, and enduring relationships with their fans, with a richness unattainable on Twitch or YouTube alone. Turnip is building a platform that turns passive viewers into a community actively engaged, delighting fans while providing new options for creators, from event subscriptions to sponsorships and more,” Greenoaks partner Neil Shah said in a statement.

Turnip has amassed over 5 million users, 45% of which are from outside India. In 2021, users collectively spent more than a billion minutes on the platform, the startup said.

“We started with India, mainly because it was our native land. But we’ve always had in mind that gaming is something that transcends geographies. Today we have users in 58 countries,” Dubey said. (Some of the top international markets for Turnip, by user base, are Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.)

The startup plans to roll out the new funds to deepen its footprint in Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, among other markets this year. He is also looking to expand his team in several roles, including product.

One of the products Turnip is currently working on is a token that could allow community operators to reward their members and accept payments. The startup is also exploring use cases for NFTs on the platform, she said.

“We deeply believe in the future of the mobile gaming communities that Pooja and Aditya are building,” Mayank Khanduja, partner at Elevation Capital, said in a statement. “When we first met them, we saw that they had the unique combination of skills and ambition to create a truly global product,” he said, adding that the venture capital fund had signed its first term sheet with the founders in three days. to meet when there was no product in sight.

“The product puts gamers, a large part of today’s digital creators, at the center and allows them to imagine completely new experiences for their community. Turnip’s dramatic growth and global reach over the past year further strengthens our faith in their vision and we are delighted to reaffirm our partnership in this latest funding round.

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