Television

SMAAASH ropes in FW Sports Investment Fund as strategic investor

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MUMBAI: FW Sports Investment Fund LP (FSIF), a Mauritius-based private equity fund, has acquired a significant minority stake in Mumbai based Smaaash Entertainment (SMAAASH).

This is the first round of private equity funding into the company.

Pioneering the field of sports simulation technology in India, SMAAASH has developed a unique concept that blends sports, music and dining into an immersive and involved social entertainment experience. It?s first such sports-based entertainment centre that was started in 2012 in Mumbai. The centre is home to highly interactive sports simulators across different sports such as cricket, football and racing, as well as many other thrilling and recreational attractions. The Company is promoted by serial entrepreneur Shripal Morakhia, who had earlier founded SSKI &ShareKhan.

?SMAAASH is an emotionally and physically engaging proposition that uses technology to meet consumer aspirations. We are very excited at having FSIF as our partner. Our plan is to open multiple centres across India and globally over the next couple of years, and FSIF?s involvement will help us immensely with our global plans?, said SMAAASH founder director Shripal Morakhia.

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and STAR India are also associated with this unique venture from its inception.

Sachin Tendulkar who is a strategic investor in SMAAASH said, "The advanced simulators at SMAAASH are fascinating and are very close to real life experience. Sporting enthusiasts can leverage the technology at SMAAASH to harness their skills and gain experience of challenges faced on the field. The facilities at SMAAASH cater to the demands of the young, sporting minds of the nation?.

"SMAAASH demonstrates creativity and innovation at its best -- principles that form the very core that drives Star. That innovation has meant that SMAAASH is quickly emerging as the sports entertainment destination among today's youth,'' said Star India COO Sanjay Gupta.  ?We are very proud to partner this unique venture and its team led by Shripal from its very conception to pilot and now its growth phase. There's no doubt SMAAASH will soon grow to be one of the biggest global enterprises in active sports entertainment.?

This is the second major investment by FSIF, Asia?s first sports dedicated fund. Earlier this year, FSIF had acquired a significant minority stake in Technology Frontiers, a leading global provider of in-stadia activation solutions. The fund is led by Anand S. Krishnan, who has earlier been a managing director at JPMorgan in America and Asia.

Commenting on the investment, Anand S. Krishnan said, ?SMAAASH leverages sports as a medium to connect with customers ? families, corporates, and retail. The company is uniquely positioned to expand its footprint throughout India and worldwide; its innovative, differentiated, and aspirational offering addresses the bourgeoning demand for active entertainment. We are excited to be a part of this story and look forward to working with the SMAAASH team.?

Anand S. Krishnan and Sripat Pandey will be joining the board of directors of SMAAASH.

EY India acted as the exclusive investment bankers on the transaction and J. Sagar Associates acted as the legal advisor to FSIF. EYIndia partner Ajay Shah, who led the transaction said, ?The Indian sports-based entertainment industry has grown rapidly over the last few years, driven by an increase in discretionary spending ability of the consumer. SMAAASH now has a total equity capital base of approximately Rs 150 crore. This capital base will be a catalyst for the company to achieve its aggressive expansion plans and meet its objective of providing social entertainment via a fun filled, value-for-money experience".

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