Investment Memos

Investing in Turnip

Re-imagining gaming communities

17th January 2022

Series A Update: 13th January 2021

It has been about a year since we announced our Seed Investment in Turnip. At that stage, we backed Pooja, Aditya and a compelling thesis.

As avid gamers, both the founders felt that the gaming community experience was quite one-sided, limited to simple chatting on live streams or receiving shoutouts from creators. They launched Turnip with the mission to reimagine the future of gaming interaction by helping creators build communities that turn game streaming into a highly interactive, social and engaging activity.

In the past year, it has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside the team — see them rally around the vision and bring it to life.

Have a look at the Turnip X Elevation journey:

How it started: “The vision of Turnip is all about putting the gaming creator in the centre – big, medium and small – allowing them to engage their communities in deeper ways and consequently monetizing more meaningfully.” This was the hook of our investment memo in January 2021.
How it is going
: Within just a year of launch, Turnip has truly brought that vision to life: the platform is home to 5M+ gaming creators and their many fans, who collectively spent 1B+ minutes engaging in the super immersive experiences.

How it started: The magic was in building a mobile-first gaming product that solves for super deep engagement, while being simple to use. A tall ask!
How it is going
: It is really a matter of pride to see such a world-class consumer product built in India — ~45% of user base is from 50+ countries outside India. And, we can’t help being excited for Turnip and the generation of global consumer products that will be built from India!

How it started: Boot-strapping a social network is not easy – We had some ideas on how to solve the chicken-egg problem. But, getting this right was critical to success.
How it is going
: Turnip has built a really sharp single-player mode — the best mobile streaming product in the world! This rapid scale up has helped create a strong organic channel with 60%+ of users coming through word of mouth and product loops.

We are delighted to continue and double-down on our commitment to Team Turnip. It’s a pleasure to welcome some phenomenal investors and builders to the team and we are super thrilled for the next phase.

Turnip product screensTurnip product screens

Seed Round Update: 21st January 2021

The rise of mobile gaming in India has been exponential and obvious – We have about 350M+ mobile gamers in India, expected to grow at 20%+ over next 5 years. In the shadow of this, game streaming has exploded. 3M active game streamers engage over 200M viewers today. These creators and their fans are everywhere – your 15-year-old niece, the Uber driver during his break or the hair stylist you last met - they are ubiquitous and growing. 6 of the top 10 YouTube streamers (by views, in 2020) are from India with the top creators having 20M+ subscribers. Game streaming is no longer relegated to being a niche sub-culture; it is mainstream and growing.

Watching a game stream is nothing like watching Netflix. People watch it for a sense of community that the best creators foster. Streamers welcome their viewers, ask them about their day and there is constant banter in the chat boxes. Twitch allows its streamers the ability to make custom emojis (called emotes) for their own channel – these are very popular and act as norms, rites of passage and inside jokes for the community. See these chats from fans on YouTube to know what we mean.

Creator-fan interactionCreator-fan interaction

Today’s computer/mobile games are the most interactive and engaging media ever created in human history. However, the game viewing experience still remains primitive in its level of interaction and engagement. Streamers use a chat box to interact with streamers and occasional personalized shout-outs. We believe that the time to re-imagine what gaming creators can offer to their communities is now – as there is a perfect storm brewing with penetration of smart phones, cheap data and a generation that is seeking more participatory social media.

Pooja and Aditya are building Turnip with a mission to re-imagine creator-fan interactions for mobile-first game streaming. We don’t want to spoil the fun much yet – but imagine fans being a bigger part of the stream, chatting on audio with the gamer, voting for what they want the streamer to do, participating in contests etc. - The possibilities are only limited by one’s imagination. Turnip is all about putting the gaming creator in the center – big, medium and small – allowing them to engage their communities in deeper ways and consequently monetizing more meaningfully.

We are thrilled to announce that Elevation Capital is leading a USD 1.6M seed round in Turnip. We deeply believe in the future that Pooja and Aditya are building – we met them for the first time on a Wednesday and had a term sheet for them on Saturday. Vaibhav from Better Capital is also joining this round and we are excited to have him as a partner in this journey.

Team TurnipTeam Turnip

One of Twitch’s most talked about streams was where a streamer allowed his viewers to apply cheat codes to his game of Grand Theft Auto. Fans paid money to alter gravity or blow up a truck on the road. This feels like the future of game streaming and we are excited for Turnip to be building this future.

Turnip speaks to three beliefs we have at Elevation

  • The future of social media is firmly about two-way interaction and participation. We are past the era of 99% users passively consuming on the platform
  • Loneliness is growing – mid/small level creators offer a sense of community and intimate interactions. Platforms will get built that enable deeper engagement and hence, monetization for these creators
  • These creator platforms will get built vertical-first (e.g. gaming) and offer forms of engagement and interactions that are more innate and natural to the category

It is instructive that even today the most popular AAA games are Minecraft and Roblox - games built 10-15 years ago and with the most basic graphics. It is all about creation, expression and interaction.

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