40UNDER 40

Poker Man Plays His Cards Right With Baazi Games

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Navkiran Singh, 

Founder and CEO, Baazi Games, Baazi Games
age: 32
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Navkiran Singh chanced upon poker during his college days. Being a math virtuoso, he aced the card game. In turn, the game trumped him too, and today Singh is batting to make Poker a mainstream sport in India through his venture Baazi Games.
In 2013, at the World Poker Tournament in Las Vegas, Singh was astounded to see 20,000-odd players from across the world. That’s when he realised the game’s cult status. It changed him from a Poker-lover to a trend-spotting entrepreneur. He quit his job at Tata Consultancy Services and started Baazi Games along with his co-founders. Together, they raised ₹70 lakh by borrowing money from their parents. Baazi Poker was the first game to be launched by the company, which currently has a whole range of card games, Fantasy Sport, and a suite of casual games ranging from chess to archery. Currently, the entire Baazi Games portfolio has 3.5 lakh monthly users and 75,000 daily active users. In FY21, the company generated gross annual transactions worth ₹2,500 crore and an Ebitda margin of 10%. It has around 1.2 crore registered users.
The company’s primary source of revenue is service fee — 3-4% of the total entry fee of leagues and tournaments, depending on the sport — poker, rummy, or cricket. It also earns from sponsorships of virtual gaming events such as National Poker Series and National Cricket Tournament. In a Series A funding in 2020, Fantasy Sport and Card Baazi raised $6 million and $4 million, respectively, from Udtara and Baazi Games. The holding company, the Baazi Games Group, has three legal entities — PokerBaazi, BalleBaazi & CardBaazi.
Singh believes that going ahead, Baazi Poker will command 30% share of the online poker market in the country. Baazi Games, he hopes, will be poised to encash on that boom.