Smaaash appoints Tushar Dhingra as CEO

MUMBAI: A year after Piramal Enterprises invested Rs1.5 billion in sports based entertainment outfit Smaaash Entertainment, the company has roped in Tushar Dhingra as the chief executive officer.

Dhingra will be responsible for contributing to Smaaash’s overall strategy and expansion plans with the core objective of pioneering technology development and raising profitability across its centres. Smaaash, which was set up in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Shripal Morakhia, also counts sporting legend Sachin Tendulkar and Star India among its founding partners.

Smaaash has five gaming arcades in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Noida and Hyderabad and has announced plans to set up more centres in the US and in the Middle East, targeting Dubai and Jeddah. Reports indicate that Smaaash is also planning to open new centres in Ludhiana and Chandigarh and planning to expand its Mumbai flagship centre to 120,000 sq ft.

In 2014, Smaaash had raised Rs650 million from sports-focused investment firm FidelisWorld, a Mauritius-based private equity fund, which invested through its first fund FW Sports Investment Fund LP.

Dhingra's appointment comes at a time when rivals, Bengaluru-based gaming company Iona Entertainment has announced a  Rs2 billion expansion plan that includes 36 new gaming zones across metros and tier-II and III cities in India and five overseas.  Mexican edutainment theme park KidZania, with Shah Rukh Khan as its Indian shareholder, has also strengthened its foothold in major metros in the country.

Dhingra, who was working as CEO, Dial iTV & president Business Development - ITV Network, prior to his appointment at Smaaash, has also been COO at Reliance Big Cinemas and brand architect for PVR Cinemas.

Dhingra says, “We want to expand Smaaash from the ground up with its vision centered around being a technology and innovation company first, followed by everything else. I share the company’s mission and aim to aggressively chase the path to profitable growth by leading conversations and scalable change in the experiential, gaming and entertainment sectors across our country and key countries offshore.” 

“Right talent is essential to Smaaash’s expansion policy. Tushar has a proven record of raising businesses to new heights that are firm in foundation, longevity and profitability - three pillars of our success till date. I look forward to his key learnings and implementations across the board,” says Shripal Morakhia, founder & chief imagination officer, Smaaash.