Social networking app Qlan, designed for gamers and esports enthusiasts, has secured pre-seed funding to fuel its expansion and enhance gamer networking, discovery and content creation capabilities.

Previously operating as a bootstrapped startup, Qlan – which now has over 100,000 combined downloads – underwent an extensive six-month beta testing period, culminating in the platform’s full-version launch in January 2023. Bolstered by a committed team of over 20 professionals, the early-stage start-up achieved healthy organic growth, attracting a user base of over 50,000 gamers.

The app has initiated itself as a thriving hub for gamers and esports enthusiasts with early adopters across the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, North and South America, South Africa, and the MENA regions, ultimately leading to a successful pre-seed funding round.

Qlan’s approach to making a positive impact on the grassroots of the gaming industry attracted significant support from notable investors which included Marwah Sports, CIIE.CO, and Faad Network in the funding round. These investments will help the app in its vision of empowering gamers all over the world with an engaging and seamless networking opportunity.

Expressing his thoughts on the funding round, Qlan CEO and co-founder Sagar Nair said, “The pre-seed funding round signifies an exciting new phase for Qlan, and we are delighted to have Marwah Sports, CIIE.CO, and Faad Network as backers. This demonstrates the remarkable potential of Qlan and the burgeoning global gaming and esports industry. While we are grateful for the worldwide validation of Qlan by gamers, our primary objective now is to scale our platform, optimise user experience, and gain deeper insights into our community’s needs. With the invaluable support of our investors, we are poised to elevate Qlan to new horizons and empower the ever-expanding global community of gamers”

The investors backing the app have a distinguished portfolio of having supported and nurtured successful ventures in the past. Marwah Sports, the sports arm of the more than 60-year-old enterprise Marwah Group, has backed several marquee ventures including sports hardware manufacturing companies Square Off and Elevar, and sports tech companies Uactiv and Sporjo.

“Meaningful and engaged communities will form the bedrock of the fledgling Indian and global gaming ecosystem,” said Marwah Sports CEO and Marwah Group director Pranav Marwah. “With Qlan, individuals and organisations can focus on what is most important – retention and engagement. We are encouraged and excited by the progress made by the team – this is only just the beginning!”

CIIE.CO is the Innovation Continuum spreading from incubation, acceleration, seed, and growth funding to research. CIIE.CO has accelerated over 1000 entrepreneurs/startups, funded over 300 startups, mentored, and coached over 5000 startup

CIIE.CO Seed Investing VP Chintan Antani said, ”Esports in India is witnessing “green shoots” of tailwinds. With the government priming up with recognition, regulatory frameworks should follow suit. Parallelly there is a sharp rise in esports athletes, teams, events, sponsors turning to franchises among others. There will be a need to bridge these facets with a community-driven solution and enable growth. This is where Qlan fits in and would be ripe for tapping into what we feel is a sunrise sector in India today.”

Faad Network Limited, a well-known investor network, has a substantial portfolio in the esports domain that includes India’s first cloud gaming service, the Gaming Project, and Esports XO which is one of the country’s fastest-growing organisations.

“India has over 400 million online gamers, with a total market size of over four billion dollars. Not only do 90 per cent of these gamers transact, but they also maintain an active social profile to connect with other gamers,” said Faad Network Limited CEO Aditya Arora. “This is where we found a fit in Qlan, which is building a comprehensive solution to join gamers and esports enthusiasts. The stellar team understands these gamers’ space and pulse and will drive home a scalable business.”

Emphasizing the importance of establishing strong fundamentals, driving growth, and attaining product-market fit, Qlan plans to utilise the funds raised in the pre-seed round to not only expand its platform to a wider community but also to bolster its team and leverage its product, which is crafted with a focus on user-centric principles.