Sachin Tendulkar-backed sports-based entertainment startup Smaaash has raised ₹40 crore (about $6 million) from a clutch of high-net-worth individuals, including Ravi Modi, founder of clothing brand Manyavar, Lakshmi Narayanan, former vice-chairman of Cognizant and Vijaylaxmi Poddar of Balkrishna Industries.

The investment was reported by data research platform and will see Smaaash furthering its physical presence in both domestic and international geographies.

The round comes four months after the firm raised capital from consumer-focused investment firm Sixth Sense Ventures, had reported earlier. At the time, Smaaash was expected to have been valued at about $100 million.

With this, the total capital raised by Smaaash Entertainment stands at about ₹762 crore, including equity and debt so far.

Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Shripal Morakhia, who was behind institutional brokerage firm SSKI and retail brokerage firm Sharekhan, Smaaash owns and operates digital entertainment centres for sports such as cricket, football and go-karting and also virtual games in 30 centres across India along with the US, China, and the Middle East.

The firm currently manages over 600,000 square feet of area in India. Its operating revenues almost doubled to Rs 103.26 crore in FY17, while losses widened by a third to Rs 32.88 crore, according to regulatory filings made with the registrar of companies.

Shareholders of the company include Tendulkar, sports-focused investment firm Fidelis World and BCCL, which publishes The Economic Times.

Sachin Tendulkar backed virtual reality gaming and entertainment company Smaaash has raised $44 Mn (INR 280 Cr) in a round led by Edelweiss Group’s non-banking finance unit, ECL Finance. The funding has been secured through a combination of debt and equity.

According to sources, the investment will be utilised for overseas expansion and acquisitions. Out of the $44 Mn, ECL Finance has contributed $40.2 Mn (INR 258 Cr). The remaining amount of $3.4 Mn (INR 22 Cr) has been raised from Smaaash founders.

Commenting on the development, a source said, “On the international side, Smaaash has been looking to set up centres in the US and in the Middle East. They already have one centre in the US. They have been looking at cities such as Dubai and Jeddah in the Middle East.”

The development comes nearly seven months after the entertainment company announced plans to raise $31 Mn (INR 200 Cr) from private equity investors for expanding its operations globally. At the time, it was reported that the investment would take place in Q2 of this year.

Smaaash: Marrying Food, Music, Sports, And Virtual Reality

Established in 2012 by film director and producer Shripal Morakhia, Smaaash is a gaming arcade operator with multiple digital entertainment centres for cricket, football, go-karting, bowling and other recreational activities. The centres are currently located across Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Gurugram and Noida, in addition to centres in the US. Smaaash is co-owned by Sachin Tendulkar, who is also one of the investors in the venture.

Currently, Sachin Tendulkar, along with badminton player PV Sindhu, her coach and former badminton player Pullela Gopichand, are in talks with Hyderabad-based healthcare services aggregator CallHealth about investing $6.2 Mn. In the past, Tendulkar launched his premium men’s wear brand, True Blue, on Flipkart-owned Myntra.

In April 2016, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar invested in Bengaluru-based Internet of Things (IoT) company Smartron India, and also became the brand ambassador of the company. He also holds stakes in brands like S Drive (healthcare and fitness products maker), Sach, and Universal Collectabilia (India’s first celebrity-commerce company).

Smaaash originally raised $10.8 Mn in May 2014 from Mauritius-based FidelisWorld through its FW Sports Investment Fund. As part of the deal, FidelisWorld acquired a 39% stake. Later in August 2016, the company was reportedly in talks with Piramal Enterprises Ltd’s Structured Financing Group for securing another $23.4 Mn (INR 150 Cr).

Towards the beginning of August, Smaaash took over bowling company bluO Entertainment, which was conceived as a joint venture between PVR Ltd and Major Cineplex Group of Thailand. The acquisition was made as part of a $13.4 Mn (INR 86 Cr) all-cash deal.

With the acquisition, the footprint of the entertainment company in India is expected to increase from 276,000 square feet to over 600,000 square feet. As per reports, the newly acquired centres will operate under the Smaaash brand.

Most recently, in the second week of September, the sports-based entertainment company acquired 100% stake in SVM Bowling & Gaming, which will, in turn, enable Smaaash to expand its reach across Hyderabad, Mysore, Madurai, Vijayawada, Mangaluru, and Pune.

Banking On India’s 310 Mn Gamers And Emerging Markets In Middle East
According to Inc42 Datalabs, India currently ranks among the top five countries in the world for online and mobile gaming. As per a Google KPMG report published in May 2017, the online gaming industry in India is estimated to be worth over $360 Mn. Poised to grow to $1 Tn by 2021, the industry will likely reach more than 310 Mn gamers around the country by then. Virtual reality gaming is a fast-evolving vertical in this country.

Recently, Mumbai-based Nazara Technologies revealed plans to offer an IPO towards the end of FY18, making it the first public listing in the Indian gaming space. According to sources, the public offering is expected to raise a total of $156.5 Mn (INR 1,000 Cr) at a valuation of somewhere between $469.7 Mn-$548 Mn (INR 3,000 Cr-INR 3,500 Cr).

Earlier in July, Bengaluru-based online gaming startup Hypernova Interactive secured an undisclosed amount in Seed funding from Kae Capital. The funding will reportedly go into building an e-sports ecosystem for mobile. The online gaming startup also plans to scale their current games in markets like China and the US.

Another online gaming startup Baadshah Gaming raised an undisclosed amount from Casino Pride in June 2017. The funding was raised against a 30% stake in the startup. Back in April, mobile gaming platform Mech Mocha raised $5 Mn in Series A round of funding led by Accel Partners, Shunwei Capital, and Blume Ventures.

In the beginning of the year, Udupi-based gaming startup 99Games secured investment from Japanese investment firm Dream Incubator, along with participation from existing investors Kalaari Capital and Ascent Capital.

Other active startups in gaming space are PlaySimple, Flixy Games, GameXS, RedMonsterGames and more. Amidst increasing competition, Smaaash’s decision to expand operations to the global market is likely a wise one. With the newly-raised funding from ECL Finance and Sachin Tendulkar, Smaaash is looking to accelerate its growth by betting on emerging gaming markets like the Middle East.

Bengaluru: Fashion start-up Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd (USPL) has raised a fresh round of investment of over Rs100 crore from existing investor Accel Partners.

With this round of funding, the valuation of Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd has crossed $100 million, the company said.

The funds will be deployed for expansion in product portfolio and retailing capabilities. “With this investment we will be able to accelerate our growth in this high potential, fashion retail space,” USPL founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Anjana Reddy said in a statement in Bengaluru.

Founded in April 2012, USPL’s portfolio of brands include WROGN, a men’s casual wear brand inspired by Team India Captain Virat Kohli.

Imara is a contemporary women’s ethnic fashion brand and Ms Taken, a signature women’s western wearline. Kohli, who is also curator of USPL’s brand WROGN, said, “I am keenly looking forward to taking WROGN to all the right places in India and beyond.”

USPL brands are presently available in Shoppers Stop and online fashion portals Myntra, Jabong and Flipkart, besides exclusive brand stores.

Pursuing its omni-channel distribution strategy, USPL has recently opened company owned outlets in key metropolitan cities of the country. “We are delighted to support USPL’s future plans as they seek to maintain leadership position in India and expand globally,” Partner at Accel Partners India, Mahendran Balachandran said.

Sachin Tendulkar has launched BMW India’s “Skill Next” programme to impart hands-on expertise and to automobile engineers across the country.

The initiative will help the engineering students in gaining theoretical and practical knowledge as the car manufacturer would provide 365 BMW engines and transmissions to various engineering and technical institutes across the country free of cost.

“Skill Next is a vision which we are extremely passionate about. Apart from the theoretical knowledge, the aspiring engineers and the youngsters will have a special opportunity for practical training as well. It is like me playing book cricket without a bat,” Tendulkar said, after launching the initiative at the factory.

Tendulkar, the brand ambassador of the German luxury car manufacturer, has launched the initiative by assembling an engine and a transmission unit along with the students of Anna University’s College of Engineering at the company’s factory in Chennai.

“The learning experience would also be a fantastic opportunity for the students to chase their dreams ,” Tendulkar added.

“There is going to be a big shortage of technical skills in the next 10 years and under this initiative, thousands of students will get access to the technology,” BMW India’s president Vikram Pawah said.

July 18, 2018, Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar, the legendary cricketer, today announced an association with Middlesex Cricket to launch “Tendulkar Middlesex Global Academy” (TMGA). The academy will provide young girls and boys between the age of 9 and 14 an opportunity to learn from the two major institutions of cricket – Sachin Tendulkar and Middlesex Cricket in England. TMGA, a joint venture between SRT Sports Management Ltd and Middlesex Cricket will begin by launching its first cricket camp at Merchant Taylor’s School in Northwood from 6-9 August 2018 followed by other locations in Mumbai and London.

Middlesex Cricket has played an instrumental role in world cricket, having produced great cricket talent such as Andrew Strauss, Mike Gatting, Denis Compton, John Emburey and Mike Brearley etc. The comprehensive training curriculum, developed by the professional coaches at MCCC and the Master himself, will help young and budding cricketers with various aspects of cricket including insights into athletic development, sport psychology, tactical development and technical modifications, etc. With talent identification at the core of the academy, TMGA will also provide 100% scholarship to talented underprivileged children.

Commenting on the launch of this initiative, Sachin Tendulkar said, “I am delighted to be partnering with Middlesex Cricket on this new venture. The objective is not only to produce good cricketers but also good global citizens of the future. Through this association, Middlesex and I are focused on providing the very best in cricket education, as much as possible, for our students.’

Richard Goatley, CEO, Middlesex Cricket said, “It has been a great privilege over the past six months to work with Sachin Tendulkar and his team in developing what we believe will be the market leading coaching programme in the world. Our established academy programme, twinned with the unique insight, knowledge and ability of the most successful cricketer of all time will provide kids with a unique experience that they will never forget.”

For more information about TMGA please visit or contact

About SRT Sport Management Pvt. Ltd (

SRT Sports Management Pvt. Ltd. (SRTSM) is a premier sports management organization that represents one of India’s most-reputed cricketers, Sachin Tendulkar. Founded by Dr. Anjali Tendulkar and the Master Blaster himself, Sachin Tendulkar, the organization manages all commercial engagements and social initiatives involving the Cricket icon. SRTSM exclusively represents Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. No other entity or individual (globally) has the authority or license to represent Sachin Tendulkar in any capacity. 100MB Pvt. Ltd. is authorized to represent Sachin Tendulkar in the digital world.

Through the movement, IDBI Federal seeks to drive home the message that in order to create and lead a healthy lifestyle, it is important to focus on both – Physical Fitness & Financial Fitness

IDBI Federal Life Insurance, one of India’s leading private life insurance companies, together with its Brand Ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar, has announced the launch of the #KeepMoving movement which aims to redefine the idea of fitness for India. Through the movement, IDBI Federal seeks to drive home the message that in order to create and lead a healthy lifestyle, it is important to focus on both – Physical Fitness & Financial Fitness.

The #KeepMoving campaign will launch with short films featuring cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar.

Sharing his thoughts, legendary batsman and Brand Ambassador of IDBI Federal Life Insurance, Sachin Tendulkar said, “We see that most Indians who aspire to lead a healthy lifestyle tend to focus largely on physical fitness, while financial fitness is far lower on their list of priorities. Through the #KeepMoving movement, we aspire to change the mindsets of Indians by redefining their idea of fitness. We hope to create awareness among them that in order to truly live the lifestyle of their choice, they need to focus on both – physical fitness and financial fitness.”

Elaborating further on the movement, Vighnesh Shahane, MD & CEO, IDBI Federal Life Insurance said, “At IDBI Federal, our purpose is to empower people to create and live the lifestyle of their choice. For an individual to accomplish this, we believe that he or she needs to focus on his complete fitness, both physical and financial.

It is not a choice and that is the key point that our #KeepMoving campaign aims to drive home. Helmed by our Brand Ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar, we endeavour to encourage, push and motivate the happy-to-be sedentary Indian down the path towards total fitness through this movement. This will help to build a better tomorrow, not only for the individual, but for the country as a whole.”

JetSynthesys, a digital entertainment and gaming company, launched India’s first Multiplayer Virtual Reality Cricket Game– Sachin Saga which was unveiled by Sachin Tendulkar himself.

JetSynthesys, a digital entertainment and gaming company, today launched India’s first Multiplayer Virtual Reality Cricket Game– Sachin Saga. Sachin Tendulkar himself unveiled the game’s headset and the VR game at the ongoing CII India Gaming Show (IGS) , which is a three-day international gaming, animation and infotainment show take place in New Delhi.

The limited edition headset, Bluetooth controller and Sachin Saga VR Game are available in an all-inclusive bundle priced at Rs 1,499. This will be sold exclusively available only on website.

Sachin Saga VR will give cricket lovers an on-ground stadium immersion right from the middle of the pitch. Players can test their batting reflexes and face bowlers, who will bowl at over 150 kmph. Real-time tracking allows the cricket ball to be tracked from pitch to wicketkeeper in the game.

The company is also promising high-end graphics, real-time shadows and motion captured by Sachin Tendulkar himself, which are available in 28 unique cricketing shots.

Gamers will also get access to over 100 cricket matches in the Legend mode and take on international opponents in quick matches across real-world stadiums in the virtual reality game. They will also be able to compete in head-to-head multiplayer matches with friends and family.

The Sachin Saga VR Limited Edition Headset not only comes with the Sachin Saga VR game, but also includes access and support for over 3,000 apps compatible with Google Cardboard including games, videos, education and exploration apps.

The headset supports a 100-degree view of the field, resin lenses and a customized Bluetooth controller for pro-gaming action.

“With VR, for the first time, the lines between gaming and real blur to give gamers an accurately simulated experience of the stadium, with real-time action right on their mobile screens. I thoroughly enjoyed reliving my matches with Sachin Saga VR, and I am sure it will resonate with cricket fans and gamers all over the world,” Sachin Tendulkar said on the launch of the game.

Tendulkar has previously been associated with leading tyre brand MRF for about two decades.

Sachin Tendulkar may have hung up his boots five years ago, but there are brands that still want to be associated with the Master Blaster.

The latest to turn to the God of Cricket is Apollo TyresNSE -0.81 %: Tendulkar will be the brand ambassador for India’s second-largest tyre company over the next five years.

Both Apollo Tyres and SRT Sports Management, which represents Tendulkar, declined to comment on the deal.

However, a highly placed source close to the development told ET that the deal has been signed and that Apollo Tyres will soon launch a campaign featuring Tendulkar.

“It’s a five-year deal with Sachin. The shoot is planned and the campaign should be out in the next couple of months,” the source added.

Tendulkar has previously been associated with leading tyre brand MRFNSE 0.17 % for about two decades.

MRF was one of the first brands that Tendulkar endorsed in his early playing days. It became a performance brand synonymous with Tendulkar as he used the MRF logo on his bat for 13 years. Such was the association that people still find it hard to believe that MRF does not make bats or other sporting gear.

Apollo Tyres, which posted revenues of Rs 10,388 crore in the last financial year, competes with MRF and is its biggest challenger in the four-wheeler segment. Apollo has recently entered the two-wheeler tyre space. In the past, the company had been associated with soccer club Manchester United. To be sure, some sports marketing and brand experts are not too certain about Apollo’s move to associate with Tendulkar, citing his earlier MRF identity.

“MRF and Sachin are unforgettable together. Even after so many years, people don’t remember any other brand on Sachin’s bat. So it will be very difficult for Apollo to create the same kind of brand connect. This is like taking Shahrukh Khan away from Pepsi,” said Tuhin Mishra, managing director at sports marketing firm Baseline Ventures.

Ad man and brand expert Sandeep Goyal, who has completed a PhD on the subject of human brands, believes that Apollo’s target will be the audience that has once seen Tendulkar play and is still part of his fan base.

“As ‘human brands’ age, they tend to vacate the ‘performance’ space. Sachin too is no longer using his MRF branded bat any longer. It is no longer about the runs he scores. Sachin is now into more halo-ed ‘legend’ space,” said Goyal. “Roger Federer’s recent exit from Nike to Uniqlo and Novak Djokovic’s move from Nike to Lacoste are similar moves. Apollo would be content to have a celebrity, still widely recognised – and respected- at a fraction of the cost of a Virat Kohli. (It is) win-win for b ..

Tendulkar also endorses BMW, DBS, Sony Pictures Networks Sports Cluster, IDBI Federal Life Insurance, Oxigen, Future Group, Livpure, Luminous, and Rorito.

“You may not know this, but I have never gotten a shave from someone else before,” writes Sachin Tendulkar

An ad that is currently going viral online has shone the spotlight on the incredible story of two girls from the Banwari Tola village in Uttar Pradesh. Neha and Jyoti took over their father’s barbershop back in 2014 when he fell ill. To step into a profession traditionally dominated by men, they disguised themselves as boys, even taking on male names as they paid for their father’s treatment, supported their family and continued to study.

Today, an ad inspired by their inspirational story has led to one of the greatest cricketers of all times to get a shave from Neha and Jyoti, or the ‘barbershop girls’ as they are often referred to.

Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar shared in an Instagram post on Friday that he met the barbershop girls and got a shave from them. While posting a picture with Neha and Jyoti, he also revealed an interesting tidbit – that he has never gotten a shave from someone else before!

“You may not know this, but I have never gotten a shave from someone else before. That record has been shattered today. Such an honour to meet the #BarbershopGirls,” he wrote.

Sachin also presented Neha and Jyoti with a Gillette scholarship to cover their educational and professional needs.

Since being shared online, his post has gone viral with almost 7 lakh ‘likes’ and hundreds of impressed comments.

Neha and Jyoti have been receiving much praise and love from netizens around the globe after an ad by Gillette India highlighted their incredible, gender stereotype-shattering story. The ad has gone viral with over 16 million views on YouTube alone.

“The blade that shaves, does not know whether a girl or a guy is using it. I think, this is the most important line of the video, because if dreams do not discriminate then why do we?” said Sachin Tendulkar. “We should always remember the kids of today are watching and they learn from what they see. I hope lots of kids today will see how Neha and Jyoti and their village has shown great courage and right attitude to break stereotypes and move forward’.”

In an open letter to fellow men in the ongoing International Men’s Week, Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has said that men from all over the world need to realize that showing emotions and crying is not a sign of weakness.

There’s no shame in showing your tears,” said Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday, recalling a time when he believed that crying makes a man weak, a belief he wants none to have now.

In an open letter to fellow men in the ongoing International Men’s Week, the cricket icon said his tribe should never pretend to be tough when things are falling apart.

“There’s no shame in showing your tears. So why hide a part of you that actually makes you stronger? Why hide your tears?” he asked in an emotional note.

“Because that’s what we are brought up to believe – that men are not supposed to cry. That crying makes a man weak.

“I grew up believing this. And the reason I’m writing to you today is because I realized that I was wrong. My struggles and my pain made me who I am, shaping me into a better man,” he added.

The 46-year-old, arguably the greatest batsman to have played cricket, said crying does not mean weakness.

“It takes a lot of courage to show your pain and your vulnerability. But just as sure as the morning, you’ll emerge from it tougher and better. So I encourage you to move past these stereotypes and notions of what men can or cannot do. Whoever you are, wherever you are, I wish you this courage,” he said.

Tendulkar said his tribe will face “fear, doubts and experience great tribulations” and it is fine if some of it leads to a breakdown.

“Undoubtedly, there will be times when you fail, and you will feel like crying and letting it all out. But sure enough, you’ll hold back the tears and pretend to be tough. Because that’s what men do,” he wrote.

Recalling his last day in international cricket, when he broke down while delivering a farewell speech, Tendulkar said he embraced the flood of emotions that came with the occasion.

“I had thought about it for a long time but nothing could prepare me for that last walk back to the pavilion. With each step, it started sinking in. I felt a lump in my throat, the fear of it all ending.

“There was so much going through my head in that moment. I just couldn’t keep it in. And I didn’t fight it. I let go in front of the world, and surprisingly, I felt a certain peace,” he remembered.

“I felt stronger for putting myself out there and grateful for everything that I had received. I realized I was man enough,” he said.