Jindal-backed VC raises first fund to invest in Indian sports, gaming

(Bloomberg) — Center Court Capital, a venture capital firm backed by steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal, is raising 3.5 billion rupees ($42 million) for its first fund to invest in Indian sports technology and video game startups.

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The Mumbai-based fund aims to make 15 to 18 investments over the next three years, primarily in Series A rounds, founder Mustafa Ghaus said in a phone interview. It has commitments of Rs 2 billion from backers, including Jindal’s family trust as anchor investor, and aims to raise the remaining amount by November.

Gaming and sports are gaining popularity in the world’s most populous country due to a young demographic and increasing spending power. Although the sector is still nascent in India, growing consumer preferences are opening up new opportunities.

“There has been a mindset change in the way the country views fitness, sports and gaming,” Gaus said. “We want to capitalize on that opportunity.”

Center Court will focus on technologies that enhance athletic performance, content creation and monetization, as well as consumer-facing companies that work on sleep and general fitness. It has already invested in two startups – a broadcast technology company and a sports analytics provider.

The fund, whose investors include PremjiInvest, USK Capital, Small Industries Development Bank of India, GMR Sports and SG Sports, is also in talks to back gaming studios.

Ghaus, who once represented India in international tennis tournaments, led investments in cricket team Delhi Capitals and other franchises while heading the sports arm of Jindal’s conglomerate JSW Group. Alok Samtani, former principal of TVS Capital Funds, is joining them as a partner.

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