Microsoft has been in talks for the past few weeks to invest in Indian play-to-earn gaming platform Zupee and has suggested it may lead a funding round of more than $100 million, two people familiar with the matter told australiabusinessblog.com, the latest. in a series of bets by the cloud services giant to expand its business in its key overseas market.
The two companies have not yet reached an agreement and there is a reasonable chance that the deal will not go through, the people warned. A team within Microsoft has expressed concerns about betting optics and advised the global tech giant to stay away from the deal, said a person who was aware of the details.
Zupee declined to comment. Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment late last month. Like many startups, including Oyo that Microsoft has invested in in India, the Zupee deal sought to let the startup use Azure and other Microsoft cloud services as part of the deal, two people familiar with the matter said.
New Delhi-based Zupee — which has raised more than $120 million to date, including about $100 million in the Series B round it closed in January this year — operates what it describes as a “skill-based casual gaming” platform. Last valued at $600 million, the company has racked up more than 70 million downloads for board games such as ludo, snakes and ladder, and playing cards and carrom.
In January, it formed what it claims to be a strategic partnership with Jio Platforms, India’s largest telecom operator with more than 420 million subscribers. The two companies will work to build an “ecosystem that will facilitate faster and more efficient development and distribution of products and services,” Zupee said in a press release earlier.