Indian storytelling platform Pratilipi announced that it has raised funds to the tune of $48 million with Battlegrounds Mobile India company Krafton leading this round of investment. Pratilipi will use these funds to strengthen IP development and acquisition across movies, games, web series, comics, podcasts, and other formats the company claims. It will also use the investment to expand to markets outside of India. Interestingly, Pratilipi also states that the Krafton investment would allow it to “start working on finding the best Pratilipi stories that can be translated into globally successful gaming franchises.”
“At Pratilipi, our vision has always been to democratise storytelling across languages, geographies and formats,” says CEO Ranjeet Pratap Singh in a prepared statement. ”Over the last 12 to 18 months we have seen a lot of progress, expanding into some new formats as well as finding newer ways for our creators to be successful. We are both pleased and privileged to partner with Krafton, who shares our love for great stories and IP. We can’t wait to work together with Krafton and our other investors on the next phase of our journey to take our stories and our storytellers to a much wider audience across the globe.”
“It is exciting to see the growth of Indian local IPs in online literature, comics and audio platform in Pratilipi, which is already the largest player in India in multiple categories,” says Sean Hyunil Sohn, Head of Corporate Development at Krafton. With Pratilipi already having a multilingual platform for online literature, it is poised to become one of the strongest players in emerging markets in the future. Krafton believes in long term potential of local Indian IPs that can be successful not just in India but globally as well across formats including literature, comics and gaming and our investment in Pratilipi is another step in realising that vision.”
The company’s existing investor, Omidyar Network India, also participated in the round along with a host of start- up founders including Hemesh Singh and Gaurav Munjal (Unacademy), Nishith Rastogi (Locus), Sahil Barua (Delhivery), Vidit Aatrey (Meesho), Mekin Maheshwari (Udhyam), Amit Agarwal (NoBroker) and Ranjeet Pratap Singh, CEO, Pratilipi.
So Why Is Krafton Investing in Pratilipi?
Well, Sohn did say that Krafton was looking to invest in the broader tech space, beyond gaming when it led a fund round for Indian game streaming platform Loco.
“At Krafton, we believe gamers appetite is only increasing in consuming live video game content and Loco is best placed in India to provide a world class game streaming platform and it has built a passionate community around itself,” he said in a prepared statement at the time. “Krafton plans to keep investing heavily not just in gaming, but also tech, media, and other related areas to support and participate in the growth of these sectors in India.”
Furthermore, if we look past India, there seems to be a concerted effort from Krafton to expand the narrative aspects of its own IP what with bringing Dead Space co-creator Glen Schofield on board to lead development on The Callisto Protocol, which is set in the PUBG universe. Having access to a repository of stories could make the game development process all the more easier.
Also, keep in mind that while Krafton is in the limelight largely thanks to PUBG, it’s been the company’s only success. Ahead of an upcoming IPO, Krafton revealed that 96.7 percent of all operating profits came from PUBG and PUBG alone. And while that in itself is a ridiculous amount of money, enough to open up a warchest of $100 million in investments for India and beyond, it also highlights that if its next few games such as PUBG New State fail to meet expectations, it could see a sharp fall in its share price. With that volatility in mind, it makes sense to invest while it can in the hopes that one of its many bets pay off.
Finally, it is quite possible that these investments could aid its core concern – gaming. At a recent industry summit Regional Head of Corporate Development at Krafton, Anuj Tandon stated that its “bullish” on the games industry.
Krafton, he said, views the next generation of game developers with interest. Reason being, they’re weaned on a host of games made with global production values and polish.
”The generation that’s passing out from college now, because they have experienced such high quality gameplay from the battle royale [genre] and the Battlegrounds IP, and when they come to the workforce,” he explained. “What their aspirations will be to build games for the next generation of Indians [is] what makes us really excited for this market.”
Essentially, it appears that Krafton views Battlegrounds Mobile India and its investments in the country as a stepping stone towards the advancement of game development in India. Though its yet to invest in an Indian game studio just yet, we won’t be surprised to see that happen in the months to come.