Jio Platforms backs SF-based AR gaming startup Krikey – TechCrunch

Jio Platforms, the biggest telecom operator in India and which has raised over $20 billion from Facebook, Google and other high-profile investors this year, is leading a financing round of a San Francisco-based startup that develops augmented reality mobile games.

Jio has led the Series A fundraise of Krikey, founded by sisters Jhanvi and Ketaki Shriram, the Indian firm said on Wednesday. They did not disclose the size of Krikey’s Series A round, but Jio said Krikey has raised $22 million to date.

Krikey has previously not disclosed any financing rounds, according to their listings on Crunchbase, CBInsights and Tracxn. Jio also did not share who else participated in Krikey’s new round.

As part of the announcement, Krikey has launched Yaatra, a new AR game that invites users to step in an action-adventure story to defeat a monster army. “Using weapons such as the bow and arrow, chakra, lightning and fire bolts, players can battle through different levels of combat and puzzle games,” Krikey said.

Jio subscribers in India will get exclusive access to a range of features in Krikey, available on Android and iOS, including a 3D avatar, and entry to some game levels and weapons. Jio said Yaatra game would also be made available to JioPhone feature-phone users.

Krikey has developed two additional games, including Gorillas, a game the startup developed in partnership with Ellen DeGeneres’s wildlife foundation.

“We believe AR has a huge potential in not just gaming but in many other industries to disrupt the way people interact with the world around them. We are very excited to use the phone as the window back into the natural world and hope that people’s experiences in empathising with birds and gorillas and different ecosystems will encourage them to start to take real-world conservation behaviour changes,” said Jhanvi in an interview with Cheddar last year.

“Our vision with Krikey is to bring together inspiration and reality in an immersive way. With augmented reality, we are able to bring fantasy worlds into your home, straight through the window of your mobile phone,” said Jhanvi and Ketaki Shriram in a joint statement today. They have previously participated in Apple’s female entrepreneur camp.

In a statement, Akash Ambani, director of Jio, said, “Krikey will inspire a generation of Indians to embrace Augmented Reality. Our vision is to bring the best experiences from across the world to India and the introduction of Yaatra is a step in that direction. Augmented Reality gaming takes the user into a world of its own, and we invite every Jio and non-Jio user to experience AR through Yaatra.”

Jio has previously acquired music streaming service Saavn (which has since been rebranded to JioSaavn), and Haptik, a startup that develops conversational platforms and virtual assistants.

We have reached out to Jio and Krikey for more details.

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