Honored with the IMPACT Person of the Year (IPOY) 2022 award from Exchange4media Group, Harsh Jain, Culture Enforcement Officer (CEO) and Co-Founder of Dream11, stands as a trailblazer in advertising, media and marketing excellence. His visionary leadership has driven India’s largest sports technology company, serving a staggering 200 million users, and pioneered Dream11 to achieve unicorn status as India’s premier gaming entity. At the event, Jain, the youngest recipient of this prestigious award, engaged in a fireside chat, providing key industry insights. Excerpt:
What can we expect Dream11 to bring in the next two to three years?
The reason we started it as sports fans was to solve a sports problem. We wanted to go deeper into sports beyond just watching it on TV, listening to it on the radio or streaming it online. So we launched Fantasy Sports in India.
So, what you can expect from us is a continuous effort to tackle sports-related issues and improve the experience for our users. We have a nation that is deeply passionate about cricket, which is incredible. However, we aim to expand and deepen the range of activities available to cricket and sports fans in India.
Hence, you can expect more initiatives from us in sports content, commerce, gaming, engagement and health and fitness. Our mission is to provide sports fans with everything that can improve their lives and make their experience better.
As a business founder, you’re known as the CEO, but for you, it represents the chief culture enforcement officer. Why is that so much?
I think for our initial 50 or even 100 people, it was possible to create culture through daily interactions and meetings. However, now with a team of around 1000 people, embedding the culture becomes important. It shouldn’t just be in an HR handbook or office display; This will affect every aspect from recruitment to performance reviews, appraisals and bonuses. Cultivating and enforcing this broad culture is the only way to integrate it into the organization. Over the past 15 years, I’ve learned that culture is the only measurable factor.
Take today’s cricket team as an example, despite recent tough matches. The Indian cricket team exhibits a fearless spirit – a culture that is nurtured within the team. They are already world-class cricketers; The key is to create an environment where they can express themselves together. This, I believe, is the critical role of the leader in the organization.
Do you expect a unified gaming policy with media attention? Will the government recognize and support the contribution of the gaming industry?
I believe the exponential growth of the gaming industry in the last five to six years, reaching nearly 50 crore Indian users, is noteworthy. Just imagine, 500 million Indians are currently engaged in online gaming, surpassing the population of every country in the world. This gaming community in India alone exceeds the population of the second largest country in the world.
However, with such explosive growth, inevitably comes some downside. There are instances of organizations acting inappropriately and action has been taken against such bad actors. Nevertheless, we truly believe that the government recognizes gaming as an important industry moving forward.
In fact, Hon’ble Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has said that India has the potential to become a gaming superpower. Therefore, we hope that by 2024, a distinction will be drawn between responsible gaming entities and those operating in good faith, with regulations consistent with the Prime Minister’s vision.