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Startup Learnings from Fantasy Cricket

Hi everyone,

This is my first post on Rodinhoods, so I hope you like it! I’ll try to keep it short and sweet, though it’s likely to be longer than you’d like 🙂

A short introduction to who I am: I’m the co-founder and CEO of, the World’s No.1 Fantasy Cricket Game. I also co-founded Red Digital, one of India’s leading digital media agencies with 40 employees in 5 offices, which was acquired by Gozoop (Rohan Bhansali, Gozoop’s co-founder, is a fellow Rodinhooder!)

It’s been exactly 5 years since my friends and I launched to solve the problem that we were facing: we were all CRAZY fantasy football (soccer) players, so we wanted to play fantasy cricket as well. When we started looking for a good fantasy cricket website, we realized that there was no such thing! Super Selector had fizzled out after a huge launch in the internet boom of 1999, and any other fantasy cricket games were only namesake and hidden inside generic websites, probably satisfying a criteria on the KPI checklist of some product manager.

With grandiose visions, we decided to launch our own fantasy cricket game and found the perfect name:, since the nomenclature in cricket for a dream team is Dream XI. We thought we’d keep the game free to play and after spending some money marketing, have millions of users playing on, and make money from ads/sponsorships. Little did we know that when we would go to the mass market, their response to our ‘Play Fantasy Cricket’ ad was ‘Fantasy kya hai?’. Cutting the long story short as I promised, here are 10 great lessons I learnt the hard way:

    1. The business model didn’t work without at least a few million users
    1. Having a salesforce is super-expensive (bonuses, targets, travel, attrition, etc)
    1. Clients NEVER pay on time, but vendors ALWAYS demand payments on time – managing your cash flow is the biggest challenge
    1. Your income statement can be highly deceiving, especially with a salesforce – focus on your cash flows!
    1. Make sure you don’t go all out with your marketing spends to launch your product without getting an MVP (minimum viable product) out there first and gathering positive customer data and stats, which you can build upon
    1. If you have a consumer product, your whole life should revolve around Customer Acquisition Costs, Customer Lifetime Value and Churn
    1. You will never ‘lose the opportunity’ if your product is launched a little later but works exactly as it should – product always wins at the end of the day
    1. Unless you’re 1,000% sure your backend can handle it, never splurge on marketing because its much more expensive to convince unsatisfied users to return
    1. Never hire someone to run your startup – they’ll burn your money, earn their money, and leave for a better job whenever shit hits the fan (which it always will)
    1. The BIGGEST mistake I made was letting others convince me to spend much more and much earlier than I should have!

But in 2012, after spending the last 2 years researching on legal requirements and getting the required signed opinions, we finally pivoted to a freemium fantasy cricket game on  Our users can now register, create a team and join leagues for free – but to win cash they have to pay cash! For example, 10 users can join a league where the winner wins Rs.10,000 by paying Rs.1,150 each. keeps approximately 10% of the fees after paying out the payment gateways.

We were the first daily paid Fantasy Cricket site in the world and now, 10+ other websites have followed us down this road, although we continue to lead the pack significantly. I’m very excited about the future as we build this industry and make sure Fantasy Cricket earns its rightful place in the Fantasy Sports world. We’ve also just launched our US operations, along with our Android app, and now users globally are competing to win our daily cash leagues! With hundreds of thousands of users currently, our future is looking very bright indeed, if I may say so myself 🙂

If you have some feedback on, I’d love to hear it in the comments below. Check it out:

Lastly, we’ve just launched Fantasy Football as well for the FIFA World Cup – so don’t be shy; try it out and win some cash!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

First Published on: Jun 9, 2014


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  1. I have played this game..

  2. Harsh, one of my college batchmates just upgraded his job profile as senior software developer at Dream11. Proud and happy to see this post again 🙂 Best wishes.

  3. Great to hear you’ve played on Chetan – how was the experience? Would love to know your feedback and suggestions.

  4. That’s great Sushrut. Thanks!

    • hii harsh sir i heard this before 6 months and i am playing daily such a wonderful app need to study deep in this and i have one person who was a software developer and best person for you to be a part of dream 11 can you give him a chance to be in your company plzz reply waiting for your reply

  5. Thanks a lot Harsh for posting the business model of Fantasy Sports.

    I want to Start a Table Tennis Fantasy League .The Only Difference is the Points will be calculated on individual Win Losses .

    So does it still come under Game of Skill ? Is Fantasy League allowed in Europe ? or the rules differ from country to country ?

    The Target Audience is mainly European Countries .

  6. Hi Martand,

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that would qualify as a game of skill because it is a single athlete game with a single performance. Look up the UIGEA in USA to understand what qualifies fantasy sports games as games of skill.

    Fantasy Leagues are allowed in Europe but as far as I know you’ll have to buy a license, just like any other gaming/gambling operator in countries that allow it.

    Good luck!

    • Sir am nt a softwar engineer bt also am requesting to u, for my skills cn i get a job n ur company

  7. Hi Harsh ,

    Thanks a lot !

    I will try to find if any other Business model can work 🙂

    Once again Thanks a ton !

  8. You’re most welcome! 🙂

  9. happy b’day harsh!!

    it’s been so long – pls share more about your journey – am sure lots of new things have taken off since this last post!!

  10. I have played the game quite a few times and was addicted. However I was unable to withdraw the money I won and have never logged in again. It is still in my Dreams11 account.

  11. Hi Roshan,

    I’m sorry to hear that. We have quite a strict process for verifications, because users from Assam/Odisha and those younger than 18 years aren’t eligible. But once you’ve completed this 1-time verification, withdrawals are just a single click away straight to your bank account.

    Please email us on and I’ll get my customer care head to personally take care of this!


  12. Hey Harsh,

    I am trying to figure out how can I incorporate real time score updates. We were looking at feeds- like opta etc but they seem pretty expensive for commercial purposes.

    I am mostly just looking for football and was wondering which data feed do you use and how much do you have to pay for it, would really appreciate if you could let me know.


  13. Hi Harsh,

    Your post was one of the most read articles on and we are happy to have featured it again on the home page! Check out – and congrats!

  14. Dream11 Fantasy Cricket is the Best Online Portal. Lots of people already earnings Lakhs of Rupees easily.

  15. I am crazy about dream 11 ,its amazing its all numbers game ,what percentage,chances i cant even beleive how you turned out to this amazing app,i like the same numbers game ,wish ever vould meet u or work with you….

  16. Why does the window have to close?
    Why cant the players keep making live changes? Curious.

  17. Dream 11 is a one of the great platform to earn money for cricket lovers, we can’t deny it because it became a MajorFact

  18. Sir ,I have the best games I have designed 7 games which are more Interesting than dream 11 rules and regulations I don’t want to make another separate webiste and app to do this I want ua help such that this game will be under dream 11 because I love dream 11 and Payments and everything we have so much trust on you so everyone does …and please just help me how to meet you in person I’m from SRM university chennai I’m 3rd year student sir I’m eagerly waiting to share this game with you please help me with ua office sir
    Sir please replay me if you want to listen my idea I’m sure you I’ll love it 🙂
    Waiting for ua reply sir
    Thank you

  19. The Best Alternative For Dream 11 is GameOn App Fantasy Game
    This is Really Good. You Get Payout in Paytm & You Need To Give Answers That Are Asked Before The Game Starts.

  20. run your own fantasy sports website business in india.
    like & share our page for more info:

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