Bengaluru, Karnataka, India:
Fello, India’s first game-based investment start-up, has raised $1 million in a seed round led by global talent investor, Entrepreneur First (EF). Other investors in the seed round included Acequia Capital, Kube VC, Upsparks, JITO Angels, Dexter Angels, and independent investors Ashneer Groover, Co-founder, BharatPe, Bala Parthasarathy, CEO & Co-founder, MoneyTap, Faiz Mayalakkara, Director of Investments of Emirates Investment Authority and Charlie Songhurst.
Fello co-founders, Manish Maryada and Shourya Lala met for the first time at EF in August 2020. In a span of just three months – by October 2020 – they had built an extraordinary fintech start-up that leverages its proprietary games to turn Gen-Z gamers into financial investors. Both the founders with their different skill-sets and background – one a finance graduate from Texas A&M University with deep domain expertise in financial operations, strategy, and product, and the other a computer science engineer and award-winning app developer – made the company’s journey exciting and seamless. Since the new product launch in the first week of November, the company has attracted 100,000+ users on the Fello app just within a short span of 2 weeks, with over 80% of the users being first-time investors.
With a vision to build better financial profiles for the youth of India, Fello plans to leverage the funding to expand its young team, scale the product, and gear up for more game-based finance products to disrupt the nascent space in India. The aim is to reach a million users investing and playing on the app in the next three quarters, by penetrating deeper into tier 1 and tier 2 markets across the country.
Commenting on the company’s funding, Esha Tiwary, Partner & Head at Entrepreneur First, India said, “Manish and Shourya are young, hungry founders who have their pulse on the needs and aspirations of India’s GenZ population. In a crowded investment market, they have found a clear niche and are able to attract and retain GenZ customers and build healthy investment habits. They are a perfect example of companies formed through the EF platform – bright minds from tech and business coming together to solve large impactful problems. We are very excited to continue to be a part of their journey.”
Manish Maryada and Shourya Lala, Co-founders, Fello, said, “Two industries, which have witnessed exponential growth over the past two years are gaming and personal finance. India boasts of over 400 million mobile gamers, yet only 2% of the total population are active investors. Fello, a product built at the intersection of gaming and finance, brings an unprecedented scope for disruption. While an overwhelming majority of our early users were first-time investors, 60% have gone on to reinvest. Moreover, 94% of the user base was acquired through simple organic referrals. These figures show strong early momentum and validation that making finance fun can motivate an entirely new generation to start building healthier financial profiles.”
Commenting on the funding, Mohamad Faraz, Founding Partner, Upsparks said, “Fello’s growth in the early stages has shown the immense capabilities and potential for growth that the startup has. The Co-founders Manish and Shourya come with extensive experience in the finance and technology sector. We have witnessed and believe in the team’s unique ability to create one of the biggest achievements – merging finance with gaming. With several users already present on the platform and the high retention rate that the startup has achieved, we take pride in being a part of their journey in reaching their future goals and growth.”
Ashneer Groover, co-founder of BharatPe and one of the sharks of Shark Tank India says, “Finance is boring. Savings is even more boring. By gamifying the experience of investing using technology – there is potential to expand the investing market significantly. Fello is trying to solve this relevant problem statement.”
Fello is also among the nine companies selected for the CIIE Fintech Inclusion Programme of 2021, which will support them in their plans of rapid expansion into tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
Founded in 2021, Fello is a game-based savings and investment application to save, play and get returns more than a traditional savings bank account. It makes savings fun and easy through fun, exciting and rewarding games. Users can start saving and investing in assets like Digital Gold and receive gaming tokens for every rupee they invest. Using these tokens, they can play fun in-house games like Cricket and Tambola and win exciting prizes every week.
About Entrepreneur First
Founded in 2011, Entrepreneur First is the world’s leading technology talent investor, bringing together extraordinary people to build startups from scratch in London, Singapore, Berlin, Paris, Toronto, and Bangalore. Through their $200m fund, the company invests in individuals to find a world-class co-founder, develop an idea and fund the deep technology businesses they create.
Entrepreneur First has created 300 companies, which include Magic Pony Technology (acquired by Twitter), Represent (acquired by CustomInk), Bloomsbury AI (acquired by Facebook), Tractable, Cleo, OpenCosmos, CloudNC, Transcelestial, and many more. The global investor is backed by Reid Hoffman, Greylock Partners, Founders Fund, Mosaic Ventures, and Lakestar.
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