In a surprising turn of events, the founders of Rario, the cricket NFT startup that secured a $120 million funding round last year with support from Dream11, are reportedly leaving the company. Ankit Wadhwa, the CEO, and Sunny Bhanot, the CTO, are said to be pushed out as investors, including Dream11, exert greater control over the startup. This information comes from undisclosed sources familiar with the matter, who have requested anonymity.
Founders of Rario, the cricket NFT startup backed by Dream11, are leaving the company amidst increasing control exerted by investors. This surprising development occurs as Rario faces challenges in a declining NFT market, although it still maintains partnerships with key players in the cricket industry.
Significant Changes and Cost-Cutting Measures
As part of a broader set of changes, Rario is also eliminating numerous other roles within the company. The startup, which counts Alpha Wave Global and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar among its backers, has been hit by recent decisions made by its largest investor, Dream11. Dream Sports, the parent company of Dream11, is currently engaged in cost-cutting measures and is renegotiating licensing deals that Rario had previously signed with the aim of reducing expenses, according to a person familiar with the situation.
A Surprising Development
The departure of the founders comes as a surprise, given that Rario raised a substantial $120 million funding round just last year and actively sought to secure the rights to sell various cricket NFTs on its platform. The company had attained a valuation of approximately $250 million during its last funding round, during which the founders sold a portion of their stake, according to individuals with knowledge of the deal.
Shifting Market Landscape
However, Rario has faced challenges in recent quarters as the popularity of NFTs has declined globally. The volume and price of digital assets have experienced significant drops due to the economic slowdown. Consumers are becoming less enthusiastic about purchasing NFTs, making it difficult for platforms like Rario to sustain growth.
Despite these setbacks, Rario currently maintains partnerships with notable entities in the cricket industry, including Tendulkar, Cricket Australia, IPL franchises Gujarat Titans and Punjab Kings, Abu Dhabi T10, Hero Caribbean Premier League, and the Lanka Premier League.