Fantasy sports have become a prevailing passion among contemporary sports enthusiasts, particularly the younger demographic. This engaging pursuit allows sports aficionados to transcend the role of mere spectators and actively participate by assembling their own virtual teams composed of real players. The gratification derived from this immersive experience is further amplified when the selected imaginary team achieves commendable performance, thereby unlocking various rewards.

A Case Study on Dream11

The surge in the fantasy gaming industry in India is undeniably attributed to the pervasive influence of the mobile and internet revolution. Recognizing the immense potential within this burgeoning sector, Dream11 emerged as a pioneering entity in 2008.

Dream11, a pioneer in fantasy gaming from India, is excited to announce that it has become the first Indian gaming company to achieve the prestigious unicorn status.

Company Highlights Of Dream11

FoundersHarsh Jain & Bhavit Sheth
IndustryFantasy Gaming
Founded Year2008
Parent Organization/OwnerDream Sports

Dream11: A Dream Sports Triumph

Dream11 stands as a premier application that enables users to meticulously craft imaginary sports teams. Distinguished by its unique feature, users have the opportunity to accrue cash rewards based on the real-time performance of the selected players within their teams. Every commendable move executed by the players translates into tangible financial incentives for the users. Dream11 offers a diverse gaming experience across various sports categories, encompassing cricket, football, kabaddi, and the National Basketball Association.

Positioned as one of India’s preeminent sports gaming platforms, Dream11 achieved a significant milestone by amassing 100 million users in 2020, a number that has surged to an impressive 140 million in 2021. Noteworthy is the remarkable growth trajectory from a modest 2 million registered users in 2016. Catering to the passion and profound knowledge of sports enthusiasts, Dream11 provides a platform for individuals to monetize their expertise and love for sports, currently boasting an extensive user base of over 15 Crore.

Dream11 operates under the umbrella of its parent company, Dream Sports. The broader Dream Sports portfolio includes renowned brands such as Dream11, FanCode, DreamX, DreamSetGo, and Dream Pay. At the core of Dream Sports’ mission is the realization of ‘Make Sports Better,’ manifested through a multifaceted approach that engages fans deeply with the sports they cherish. 

Dream11 : A Saga of Entrepreneurial Vision and Innovation

Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth, ardent sports enthusiasts since childhood, embarked on a transformative journey by co-founding Dream11, now a preeminent fantasy sports application. Their entrepreneurial venture was spurred by the Indian Premier League (IPL), acting as the catalyst for the nascent fantasy sports industry’s emergence.


 In a nation teeming with billions of cricket enthusiasts, Harsh and Bhavit envisioned the creation of a company that would tap into the vast potential of sports fantasy leagues as a lucrative service opportunity.

Harsh, armed with his education from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia Business School, returned to India with a mission to address a gap in the fantasy gaming landscape. Undeterred by skepticism, he extended an invitation to others to join him in the pursuit of a swift and effective solution to this gaming challenge. While many dismissed the idea, Harsh found support in his college classmate Bhavit Sheth, who shared his vision and enthusiasm for the venture.

In 2012, Dream11 took its first step into the market with the launch of its inaugural freemium service, marking the initiation of a remarkable journey. From this point onward, the company set out to redefine the landscape of fantasy sports, leveraging innovation and a customer-centric approach to carve a niche for itself in the competitive market.

Dream11 : Business Model

Dream11 Business Model

Dream11 operates on a distinct business model that diverges from conventional monetization strategies involving platforms like Google Ads or other advertising agencies. Instead, the company generates revenue by hosting fantasy games on its website. In its initial stages, Dream11 experimented with Google AdSense; however, this avenue was abandoned to prioritize a streamlined and expedient user experience for their audience.

Remarkably, only 10% of Dream11 players engage in paid contests, underscoring the challenge and expense associated with converting free users into paying customers. Notably, Dream11 pioneered the introduction of a private fantasy gaming app in India, catering to diverse gaming preferences through freemium, premium, and private gaming modes, allowing fantasy sports enthusiasts to earn monetary rewards.

As of September 2020, reports indicate that Dream11 imposes a fee exceeding 20% on the total earnings in both grand and small leagues. This contrasts with other platforms like Halaplay or MyTeam11, which boast lower commission rates and do not levy charges for private competitions. Despite competitive alternatives, Dream11’s popularity endures, attributed in part to its unique feature that enables users to create customized contests, such as forming personalized cricket teams when playing with friends or teams.

It is essential to recognize that even in scenarios where users derive enjoyment from their gaming experiences, Dream11 remains financially sustainable by requiring a minimum 20% fee, ensuring a revenue stream for the company while users engage in their preferred games.

Dream11 : Revenue Model

Dream11 operates on a dual-tiered revenue model, encompassing the following key components:

Entry-Level Fees: Dream11 generates revenue by collecting entry fees from participants who wish to engage in paid contests. Users are required to pay a specified fee to participate in these contests, contributing to the overall revenue stream.

Commission on Winnings: As of December 2022, Dream11 leverages its revenue model by deducting a percentage, typically ranging between 15% and 20%, from the total pool when users earn winnings based on the real-time performance of selected players. This commission on winnings constitutes a significant portion of Dream11’s overall revenue, ensuring a sustainable and profitable business model.

Dream11 : Challenges

Legal ChallengesDream11 faced legal hurdles due to its perceived similarity to gambling, which is largely illegal in India. The company underwent court allegations, but the judiciary ruled that fantasy gaming is a game of skills rather than chance or probabilities. The industry is currently in a self-regulatory phase.
Initial Funding ConstraintsDream11 started its fantasy sports business with a limited initial investment, requiring further funding to sustain and expand. The company secured a series of angel investor investments to meet the high financial demands of running the business.
Business Market IdentificationIdentifying a suitable business market posed a challenge for Dream11. Navigating through the dynamic landscape of online gaming and fantasy sports required strategic decision-making to tap into the right audience and establish a strong market presence.
Marketing StrategyMarketing the company effectively was a challenge, especially in a competitive industry. Developing a robust marketing strategy to differentiate Dream11 from competitors and attract users was crucial for its growth.
Office LocationFinding an appropriate office location was a challenge for Dream11. Selecting a strategic and conducive workplace is vital for a startup’s success, and Dream11 faced the task of securing a suitable office space to facilitate its operations.
Technological Planning and ImplementationPlanning and implementing the right technologies were challenges for Dream11. As an online gaming platform, technological infrastructure plays a crucial role in providing a seamless user experience. Dream11 had to strategically plan and execute the integration of appropriate technologies to enhance its platform’s functionality and user engagement.

Dream11 : Funding and Investors Overview

Dream11 has successfully secured funding through a total of nine rounds, accumulating an impressive sum of approximately $1.62 billion as of November 25, 2021. In its most recent funding round, notable financial leaders such as Falcon Edge, DST Global, D1 Capital, Tiger Global, and Redbird Capital played pivotal roles as primary investors. TPG and Footpath Ventures also contributed to the funding, underscoring the diverse and influential support behind Dream11.

Earning its position in the Indian unicorn club in April 2019, Dream11 received a strategic investment from Steadview Capital. The company boasts backing from major entities including Kalaari Capital, Tencent, a prominent Chinese internet giant, as well as Think Investments and Multiples Equity. This robust support from a range of reputable firms underscores Dream11’s standing as a formidable player in the industry, further solidifying its trajectory for continued success.

Dream11 :  Impressive Growth and Revenue Milestones

Dream11, a leading player in the online and fantasy gaming sector in India, has recently achieved significant milestones in terms of valuation and revenue. As of the latest funding round on November 24, 2021, the company’s estimated worth stands at a remarkable $8 billion, following an infusion of $840 million. This comes on the heels of a substantial fundraising effort on March 24, 2021, where Dream11 secured $400 million, propelling its valuation to $5 billion within a span of just six months, as reported in March.

Renowned as the highest-valued startup in the Indian online and fantasy gaming industry, Dream11 has consistently demonstrated resilience and adaptability. Despite facing challenges during the initial phases of the pandemic, marked by canceled matches and declining revenues, the company rebounded swiftly from July 2020 onwards. This strategic recovery contributed to a notable increase in user base, reaching 100 million users in 2020.

Dream11 : Product and Services

Dream11 – Products and Services
Introduction DateApril 2019
DescriptionAd-free multi-sport aggregator platform including content, commerce (sports products), and community involvement.
Launch DateApril 2023
DescriptionMobile payments app by Dream Sports, the parent company of Dream11, entering the finance market.

Dream11 : Competitors

2Mobile Premier League
6Gaming Monk


In conclusion , Dream11’s journey from a modest start in 2008 to becoming a unicorn in the Indian gaming industry is a testament to its founders’ vision, innovation, and the evolving landscape of fantasy sports. As the company continues to grow and adapt to market dynamics, it remains a key player in India’s fantasy gaming sector, setting the stage for further industry innovation and expansion.