Popular West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle has invested an undisclosed amount in IONA Entertainment, a Bangaluru-based gaming startup that brings one-stop entertainment to Indian sports fans, which includes state-of-the-art virtual gaming.

The startup, founded in 2016 by TS Subramanian and Preetha, had earlier raised an initial round of funding from Singapore-based Vestasia, and now West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle has also decided to invest in it.

Speaking to reporters here, Gayle said he is a family man and loved to be associated with IONA, which is a family-oriented firm with potential to grow into a big business.

Gayle also said that India is his top priority in terms of investment destinations and wanted to invest as many businesses as possible.

IONA. which currently has one 70,000 square-feet gaming venue at Virginia Mall in Bengaluru, has plans to open such virtual reality-based entertainment zones in other metros and tier-1, tier-2 cities and has earmrked Rs. 200 crore in investments. "We will start five additional centres in India soon and the overall plan is to have 36 centres across the country," said Preetha.

Asked what percentage of Rs 200 crore has Gayle invested in the venture, Preetha said, "I have two answers for that. One is Chris Gayle cannot be valued. Two, the brand is young, for we had launched the brand just about a month ago." Preetha said the company is still in talks with Gayle and other stakeholders about business modalities.

"Rs 200 crore is just a phase one investment. We need to invest more, and partners coming in like Chris Gayle and Vestasia further strengthens our brand in the quest to become a global player," Preetha added.

Earlier -- just four days back -- another start cricket celebrity Sourav Ganguly had invested in an entertainment startup Flickstree.
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