Krafton puts $5 million in Indian gamified dating app FRND -- Here's why

Logo of Indian dating app Frnd
(Image credit: Frnd)

Krafton, the South Korean gaming giant behind the Battlegrounds Mobile India (which in its previous avatar was PUBG), has invested $5 million in the Indian gamified audio dating app FRND. The investment into FRND is part of Series A round of funding totaling $6.5 million that includes other investors like India Quotient and Elevation Capital.

This is Krafton's fourth startup investment in India this year, after previously backing game streaming platform Loco, esports firm Nodwin Gaming and Indian language storytelling platform Pratilipi. 

Krafton is on record saying that it has plans to invest close to $100 million in India to develop video game, esports, entertainment, and IT industries in the country.

FRND is a dating app that allows users to connect with each other through one-on-one voice chat while playing games. Its services are currently available in 10 Indian languages. The latest round of investment will help it to expand to more languages. 

“FRND is a unique product that is disrupting an entire category with a unique local solution that global companies will find tough to adapt to. We see great potential in this high-volume transaction digital startup and are happy to invest in its growth story,” Sean Hyunil Sohn, head of the India division at Krafton said in a press release.

FRND allows users to connect through live-streamed formats like 'FRND Dating' and games such as ‘Raja Rani Chor Police’, ‘Voice Match’ with a focus on creating one-on-one connections. Users can connect via audio in a pseudo-anonymous manner and start conversations through a matchmaker. The matchmaker-led game and chat rooms on the platforms come with certain moderation systems that allow boys and girls to connect and have safe yet engaging conversations. 

Founded in 2019, FRND is said to have over five million registered users and is available on Google Play Store

Krafton has been trying desperately to remain in Indian market after PUBG, whose publishing rights were with the Chinese company Tencent, was banned. Since then Krafton severed its links with Tencent for the Indian market and arrived as BGMI. And it is also making strategic investments in India.

The South Korean company needs the Indian numbers to stay relevant as India is one of the top gaming markets in the world.

The gaming sector in India is growing faster than most media sub-sectors — including cinema and home entertainment, audio. It is generating $1.5 billion revenue and is expected to triple to $5 billion plus by 2025.

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Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.