LOCO: Bringing online gaming esports to the mainstream

Anirudh Pandita and Ashwin Suresh launched Loco as a game streaming platform in March 2020, and since then the duo have nurtured the gaming sector, helping esports and game streaming go from a niche hobby to a mainstream entertainment medium. In just three years, the app has seen 7x daily active user (DAU) growth, 3x active streamer growth, and 47x growth in live watch hours.

“Today, Loco has 65% market share in the sector by DAU and users are spending over 50 minutes a day watching live content,” says Pandita.

Prior to embarking on his journey as an entrepreneur, Pandita was at Valo Group LLC, a value-oriented hedge fund based in Philadelphia. Prior to that, he worked in investment banking and private equity at Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Istithmar World Capital in New York, London, and Dubai.

Recently, Loco celebrated its third anniversary and has been making waves in the gaming industry. As part of the celebration, Loco launched a new ‘Quest’ feature on the platform, adding a new layer of interactivity. The ‘Made in India’ platform is home to some of the most popular streamers and has built highly engaged communities across various games including BGMI, FreeFire, and Call of Duty Mobile. It houses India’s top esports teams and has hosted the country’s largest tournaments in partnership with global game publishers like Activision, Ubisoft, and Riot Games as well as global brands like the NBA, Logitech, and Red Bull.

The platform has supported and streamed more than 90% of the third party esports tournaments in the country.

Pandita reveals that 2022 was especially exciting with some of the iconic pop culture moments of Indian gaming happening on Loco. These include the most watched esports tournament in Indian history (BGMS), during which the platform witnessed almost 100 million views. “In addition, we saw multiple streams break the 100k+ concurrency mark, a critical milestone for individual streamers and also for the gaming community. We also supported India’s first fiction property based on esports as well as multiple non-fiction shows focusing on game streaming,” he adds.

In June 2021, Loco raised its seed round of $9mm, led by Krafton and Lumikai Fund. In March 2022, it raised its Series A round of $42 million from Hashed, Makers Fund, Catamaran Ventures, Krafton, Hiro Capital, and Korean Investment Partners.

Loco has a top notch infrastructure when it comes to live-streaming. “Through its streamer-side products, the platform empowers creators to go live, grow their online communities, and improve their monetisation. On the viewer side, its technology helps increase interactivity, enhances sampling of new content, and enables users to find their own gaming tribe.

In the next 5 years, India will have 700mm+ gamers and Loco will build the social experience platform for the virtual world, Pandita adds. At present, it has more than 55mm registered users.

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