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We Aim To Invest $10 million For Loco Over Next 12 Months: Ashwin Suresh, Founder, Pocket Aces

Many people can relate Loco with Kaun Banega Crorepati but only without Amitabh Bachchan and a prize money which is distributed equally among the all of the winners who answer all questions correctly.

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The trivia game show Loco is reaching new high with 2.5 million monthly active users spread all across India and the app seeing over 300,000 concurrent players in nearly every game. 

Many people can relate Loco with Kaun Banega Crorepati but only without Amitabh Bachchan and a prize money which is distributed equally among the all of the winners who answer all questions correctly.

Pocket Aces, Loco’s parent company, currently funds the prize money. Pocket Aces is a digital entertainment company which runs the content channels Filter Copy, Dice Media, and Gobble, in addition to Loco.

In an interaction with BW Businessworld, Ashwin Suresh, founder of Pocket Aces, talked about Loco’s future and expansion plans.

What is your business model and how do you make profits?

With over 300,000 players simultaneously playing each game, Loco is a very exciting property for advertisers. In the medium-to-long term we will monetize the product through advertisements as well as explore other means of monetization. While we currently have a lot of interest from advertisers and have already identified a bunch of interesting, non-intrusive advertising formats that we can try on the platform, the short-term aim is not to monetize but rather to focus on building out a product that users love in order to gain the trust of the Indian consumer.

Live game shows are not much popular in India, who do you think are your competitors?

We’re just starting to see the rise of simultaneous online social communities around the world. In India we are the First such platform and also the largest. With 2.5 million monthly active users spread all across the country and the app seeing over 300,000 concurrent players in nearly every game, it’s accurate to say that Loco is in a league of its own. There are a few other companies trying similar things but none of them have the scale or size that we have at this point.

What are your investments and expansion plans for Loco in India?

We’re very cognizant of the tremendous engineering challenge behind running such a platform and we are investing very heavily into our core technology as well as the engineering team. In addition, we will look to expand the user base into various parts of the country through vernacular language based offerings as well as different game show formats. We expect to invest nearly 10 million dollars over the next 12 months in order to do this.

The number of players have grown multifold; where do you think will the number settle around?

It’s very early days for Loco right now. As the number of internet users in India grows, we have a larger and larger target audience base to address. We have gone from 10,000 downloads to 2.5 million downloads in a matter of 60 days and it’s too early to predict when we will see the number stabilize. Given the size of the market we expect this growth to continue for several months.

How do you foresee the future of live quiz gaming industry in India?

We believe that in a mobile-first consumption environment like India, a platform like Loco is the answer to television game shows. Nearly every television format is finding a parallel in a mobile environment and giving users the ability to participate in the show themselves. Reality TV shows have found a mobile parallel in Instagram Stories/Snapchat, talent shows have found a mobile parallel in and short form fiction has found a great mobile home on Facebook/YouTube. However, game shows as a genre have not seen any great mobile parallel. We think Loco is that product and we think that it can grow to millions of users very soon. We are witnessing excellent organic virality so far and are at the forefront of a secular movement in media tech, which is the rise of massive simultaneous online social communities.

Where did you get the inspiration to develop Loco from?

With the proliferation of smartphones and the increasing ubiquity of super-fast internet connections across India due to Jio, we felt this was the right time to take one of the enduring formats of television and bring it to the smartphone. A live host, a bit of comedy, the rush of adrenaline, and a chance to win real cash - we were in love with the whole idea of having the equivalent of a game show/live event for the smartphone. With our team having worked at some of India’s bigger tech startups, and built more than a handful of products on the side, we immediately went to work on Loco!

 How many employees do you have?

Currently at Loco, we are a small team of 7 people and growing. However, our parent company, Pocket Aces, has close to 70 people.

What other features will the players see in Loco in the near future?

We don't view this purely as a gaming platform; in fact, it is more like an interactive entertainment platform. On the product front, while we will release an iOS app soon, we are also focused on building a few community features that encourage greater user engagement. On the content front, the current trivia show is just one of the many formats that we can do on it. We will add other game show formats and can even add original content, once we have the user base and buy-in.

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