The studio will globally launch its flagship gaming title Kurukshetra: Ascension, and build out additional original IP based strategy and mid-core games leveraging Indian culture and lore
Studio Sirah, a next-gen game studio that builds unique Indian-themed games, announced today that it raised $2.6 million in a Pre-series A round led by Kalaari Capital (an early-stage, technology-focused VC firm), and its seed investor, Lumikai (India’s pioneering gaming, and interactive media focused VC fund).
The company plans to utilise the funds to globally launch its flagship gaming title, Kurukshetra: Ascension, by June 2023. In addition, the funds will also help to build out their second title, which will go even further in terms of ambition and scope.
Kurukshetra: Ascension is a free-to-play card battler, themed on India’s two great epics – the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Players don the roles of ancient legends such as Arjuna and Sugriva, collect divine Astras and mythical creatures (from Apsaras to Daityas), and battle it out to the top in thrilling online duels. The studio is now adding in an expansive story mode (Ascension) – a grand tale of warring gods, conflicting philosophy, and the nature of Dharma itself, where player choices determine the fate of the universe.
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Expressing his views on the fundraise, Abhaas Shah, Co-founder & CEO, Studio Sirah said, “Over the last year, we have worked hard to build a mid-core gaming studio from scratch, and launched a game which has both cultural resonance and global quality. The response has been amazing, both in India and abroad, and it is evident that there is a huge (and growing) market for uniquely Indian content. We are deeply grateful to Kalaari for joining us in this journey, and to Lumikai, for believing in our vision from the very beginning. Over the coming decades, we hope to not only entertain Indian gamers, but to take a slice of India to the world at large.”
With over 120K organic downloads in beta, Kurukshetra-Ascension is available in early access on Play Store and Steam. A dedicated follower base on Instagram and a close-knit Discord community that has helped build and test the game from its MVP days reveals a growing appetite for India-based gaming content. Their current user base is deeply engaged, with a DAU/ MAU ratio exceeding 20% and average session times of over 25 min.
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Commenting on the investment Vamshi Krishna Reddy, Partner at Kalaari Capital said, “The Midcore genre like CCGs has done well globally, including China and Japan – but is severely under-penetrated in the Indian market. There is immense potential for more core IPs to come out of India. When we first met Abhaas and Prateek, we were in awe of the passion with which they were building Kurukshetra and saw a clear whitespace. With stellar artwork and innovative gameplay – Kurukshetra has already garnered a lot of appreciation from users and we are excited with what lies ahead.”
Commenting on the investment Justin Shriram Keeling, Founding General Partner, Lumikai said, “We’re immensely proud of Abhaas and Prateek for building such a high quality midcore game studio over the last year. Kurukshetra Ascension has been lighting up the community and is widely anticipated ahead of its full release next quarter. Our recently published ‘India State of Gaming 2022 survey indicates that 80% of players have a strong tendency to play games with Indian IP., and we believe that games with culturally resonsant themes have the potential to significantly disrupt the Indian gaming market – especially in the midcore category. We’re excited to see Studio Sirah evolve to the next stage in their vision to create world-class IPs with culturally resonant content.”
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Kurukshetra: Ascension is the first title from a team of two brothers, Abhaas Shah and Prateek Shah, avid gamers with strong technical backgrounds. They aim to build a new white space in the gaming industry with their rich Indian themed IPs that are gaining huge popularity across the globe. Prior to this, Studio Sirah had raised $830,000 in September, 2021 in its Seed round led by Lumikai and a pool of renowned angels such as Akshat Rathee (founder, Nodwin Games), Alexis Bonte (chief operating officer, Stillfront Games), Piyush Shah (cofounder, Inmobi), Roshni Rathi (partner, BCG), and Sameer Pitalwalla (Head Of Gaming, Google Cloud).
About Studio Sirah
Studio Sirah builds mid-core games with a uniquely Indian flavour, for mobile and PC. Their games tap into India’s rich lore, while making it accessible to a contemporary audience through stunning visuals and deep, engaging gameplay. The company aims to tap into the ever evolving Indian Gaming ecosystem with their rich Indian themed IPs. Studio Sirah envisions to be ‘India’s Biggest Global Entertainment Export.’
About Kalaari Capital
Kalaari Capital is an early-stage, technology-focused venture capital firm based out of Bengaluru, India. Since 2006, Kalaari has empowered visionary entrepreneurs building unique solutions that reshape the way Indians live, work, consume and transact. The firm’s ethos is to partner early with founders and work with them to navigate the inevitable challenges of fostering ideas into successful businesses. At its core, Kalaari believes in building long-term relationships based on trust, transparency, authenticity, and respect.
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Lumikai is India’s first dedicated games and interactive media VC. The fund is building a next-generation tribe of India’s most forward-thinking, creative, and talented founders. The leadership team combines decades of strategic experience and sector knowledge while leveraging all-star local and global networks to help propel founders to success.
Lumikai has already backed some of India’s leading games companies including Bombay Play (building global hypersocial, cross-platform games), Loco (India’s leading game streaming platform), and Elo Elo (creator-led, social gaming, live streaming platform) amongst others. Lumikai is the lighthouse VC fund catalysing India’s “ripe for disruption” gaming & interactive media industries.