Studio Sirah, a mobile development company, India-first mobile games, for its midcore has raised $830,000 in seed funding. Lumikai, an India-focused game venture capital fund, led the round.
Studio Sirah, located in Bangalore, which was established just a year ago, will utilise the funds to develop Kurukshetra: Ascension, a strategy card brawler based on Indian 5,000-year-old epic tales, mythology. It also intends to produce additional mid-core mobile games in the future.
Lumikai, an Indian venture capital firm, led the round, with Alexis Bonte (COO of Stillfront) and Sameer Pitalwalla also participating (director, Epic Games), Piyush Shah (Inmobi co-founder), Akshat Rathee (Nodwin Games co-founder), and Roshni Rathi (Inmobi co-founder) (partner, BCG).
It's the debut game from Abhaas Shah and Prateek Shah, two brothers who liked to play games like Age of Empires, Civilization, and Hearthstone.
Angel investors included Akshat Rathee (founder, Nodwin Games), Alexis Bonte (chief operational officer, Stillfront Games), Piyush Shah (cofounder, Inmobi), Roshni Rathi (partner, BCG), and Sameer Pitalwalla, in addition to Lumikai (Epic Games).
In an email to GamesBeat, Salone Sehgal, a partner at Lumikai, stated, "The idea to make midcore games exploiting India's profound cultural and mythical legacy resonated with our vision of the fast-changing reality on the ground." We have witnessed first-hand the early trajectory of original IP-based games in other Asian markets and the success in unlocking value. We see a similar trajectory for India accompanied with a growing need for progression/immersion by the maturing Indian gamer.”
Prateek Shah has employed at firms such as Nvidia and has a technical background from Georgia Tech. Abhaas Shah attended the University of California at Berkeley and worked for Bain & Company. During the pandemic, though, he returned home to be with his family. He and his brother decided to launch a game firm while sheltering in place.
“We grew up playing a ton of games, from Contra on Atari to Age of Empires on the PC,” Abhaas Shah mentioned in an interview with GamesBeat. “It’s always been a bonding point, a connection point for the two of us. We have very different backgrounds. When the pandemic hit, it gave us time to actually get back together as a family and talking about our childhood and gaming. We didn’t see any good Indian content that we would like to play as gamers. There are a lot of hypercasual and casual games, but these are not the games that appeal to us.”
They formed Studio Sirah about a year ago, based on the belief that the Indian gamer is becoming more sophisticated, and that there is a gap in the market for culturally relevant Indian material in games. Studio Sirah was founded with the intention of focusing on midcore games (these have hardcore themes that can be played in a short time on mobile devices).
Their debut game will have strategic gameplay, engaging visuals, and a rich growth system, according to them. Despite the fact that they are focusing on mobile initially, they have stated that the first game would be available on both mobile and PC.They devised a plan to include important Indian content in a core game. They came up with an idea, a paper prototype, a Python text game, and a Unity minimal viable product as a result of this process.
"Gaming has always been a passion for us, and we are truly thrilled to be on this journey. With the backing of Lumikai and our superb set of angels, we can breathe life into our ambitious goal of evolving Indian content through games. Salone and Justin are former studio operators, bringing hands-on industry knowledge, boldness of vision and a global network of experts and partners - we could not have asked for more”, Abhaas Shah, CEO and co-founder of Studio Sirah, remarked.
General Partner at Lumikai, Salone Sehgal, added: "We have been deeply impressed with the blue-sky, innovative thinking, game design insights combined with speed of execution demonstrated by Abhaas and Prateek. The growing sophistication of the Indian gamer has meant a greater demand for world-class IP with culturally resonant content."
"We deeply believe in the power of high-quality, India-first, original IP in mid-core games towards unlocking value. Trailblazer phenomena is real in gaming and we are proud to support Studio Sirah on their ambitious journey."
Lumikai has made a number of investments recently, most recently leading a $1.5 million fundraising round in Bangalore-based mid-core studio All-Star Games in March.
In December 2020, it also funded $1 million for Bombay Play, an Indian studio created by former Zynga and Moonfrog employees.