Dream11-backed NFT startup Rario founders to leave a year after $120M funding


Founders of Rario, the cricket NFT startup in which India’s Dream11 led a $120 million funding round last year, are leaving the two-year-old firm, people familiar with the matter said.

Ankit Wadhwa, who serves as Rario CEO, and Sunny Bhanot, Rario CTO, are being pushed out as investors at the startup, including largest backer Dream11, exert greater control, the people said, requesting anonymity as the matter is private.

Wadhwa, Bhanot and Rario didn’t respond to a request for comment. Dream11 declined.

As part of a wider set of changes, many other roles at Rario are also being eliminated, the people said. Rario also counts Alpha Wave Global and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar among its backers.

The changes come at a time when Dream Sports, the parent firm of Dream11, is making significant deliberations to cut costs. The startup is negotiating many of the licensing deals that Rario had signed to pare down expenses, a person familiar with the matter said.

Nonetheless, the changes will surprise many.

Just last year, Rario raised a $120 million funding round and aggressively sought to win rights to sell several cricket NFTs on its platform. It was valued at about $250 million in the previous funding and founders sold some stake as part of it, according to others familiar with the deal.

The popularity of the platform has waned in recent quarters as NFTs become a tough sell among consumers globally. The volume, as well as the price of the digital assets, have significantly crashed amid a protracted slowdown in economies.

Rario currently maintains a number of partnerships, including with Tendulkar, Cricket Australia, IPL franchises Gujarat Titan and Punjab Kings, Abu Dhabi T10, Hero Caribbean Premier League and the Lanka Premier League.



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