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Play It Interactive to extend its mobile sports fan engagement platform to India; raises $1.1M funding

playitgaming-logoCanada-based mobile content platform Play It Interactive has raised $1.1 million in funding from unnamed investors. It plans to use this money for product development, increasing local partnerships, and to establish its sports fan engagement platform in India and surrounding countries.

The startup said it will be opening an India head office in Mumbai, and is looking to hire in an effort to localize its product offerings as well as manage local partnerships. Currently, the company offers the sports apps ‘Cricket’ and ‘Football/Soccer’ and the card game Blackjack.

Apparently, Play It had piloted its engagement platform in India via its Fantasy Football app, during the FIFA World Cup 2014. The company claims that the app received more than 500,000 users and average user session time was over 14 minutes.

The Apps: The sports apps Play it Football and Play it Cricket are available for Android and Java based phones. The apps offer daily news, live matches, commentary, player statistics, results and more. The apps are available in 6 languages, including English, Hindi and Urdu among others. The Java version of the apps are available in jad formats, clearly targeted at Blackberry and Nokia’s cheaper feature phones. That said, the apps aren’t available on the more ‘premium’ iOS or Windows platforms.

The startup also plans to launch a Play It Teen Patti app and a Play It Game Center app soon.

Game Centre: Play It Interactive had raised $700,000 in December last year, and planned to bring mobile games to feature phones in emerging markets. According to the startup, it wanted to exploit the 5 billion or so feature phones in such markets by providing it with a social gaming platform in the form of its Game Center app.

At the time, the startup had said it would launch its Game Center app in 2014. It had claimed the app would feature a leaderboard, virtual currency, facilitate peer-to-peer chats and provide users access to cloud-based games. It also said that games like chess, checkers, poker and trivia for the app, were currently in the works. The Game Center would offer the games for free and monetize via in-app purchases.

Similar developments

-In March 2012, Airtel had tied-up with Singapore-based mobile advertising and media content company Novosol to offer its mobile sports media services – MoCricket, MoFutbol and MoSportz to Airtel subscribers. Novosol had launched MoCricket during the ICC World Cup 2011, in partnership with Airtel and Reliance Communications.

-Mobile messaging and advertising company Affle had also launched a mobile magazine called Dressing Room to coincide with the ICC World Cup 2011. Dressing Room featured content covering off-field action on cricket. In March 2011, it had launched a mobile-based cricket rating system called Cricket Maharathi. At the time, Affle had claimed that it registered 4 million unique users during the World Cup.

-In 2012, Affle had tied-up with Samsung to launch a co-branded cricket focused website for Samsung’s Windows Phone 7 device, Omnia W. The website was quite similar to Dressing Room, with the addition of contest and a live scores sections.

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