Anthill Ventures, an investment and scaling platform for early-stage startups, has announced the launch of a business accelerator programme called Anthill Studio, in partnership with Hyderabad-headquartered film production and distribution company Suresh Productions.

The three-month-long accelerator programme is geared towards helping tech startups build solutions for the media and entertainment sector.

According to the official statement, Indian actor, producer and investor Rana Daggubati will be spearheading the studio, along with Anthill Ventures founder Prasad Vanga.

As part of the programme, Anthill Ventures and its network of investors will look at investing up to $1 Mn in each of the promising media and entertainment startups participating in the programme.

Commenting on the development, Rana Daggubati of Suresh Productions said, “The movie-making business has gone through a significant transformation in the last 15 years with technology being the single largest differentiator. Studios all around the world have incorporated the latest tech in areas such as VFX, gaming, Internet-based media, AR/VR, streaming, cloud tech, and smart content creation to produce movies and other content that have engaged audiences.”

“Having invested in tech startups over the last 15 years, I have seen the first-hand impact of technology in our films. Our partnership with Anthill Ventures will be able to find the next set of technologies that will transform the media and entertainment industry. Through this partnership, Suresh Productions will bring the best of industry talent, facilities, testing platforms, and a large set of future customers for these startups.” added Rana.

As per Anthill’s spokesperson, the newly-launched accelerator programme will add value to the global startup ecosystem by focussing on the development of innovative solutions in the areas of filmed entertainment, television, gaming and digital media.

The key technologies that will be focused on are augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), visual effects (VFX), real-time cloud rendering, and Big Data, among others.

Speaking on the newly-forged alliance with Suresh Productions, Prasad Vanga, founder and CEO of Anthill Ventures, said, “Anthill Ventures is proud to be associated with Rana Daggubati and the Suresh Productions team to launch the Anthill Studio accelerator program. The accelerator will bring the very best of industry expertise, tech mentorship, business scaling and access to smart capital.”

As stated by Vanga, media and entertainment is a key focus area for Anthill Ventures’ upcoming $100 Mn fund.

Anthill Ventures: Enabling Tech Startups To Build Innovative Solutions

Launched in 2014, Anthill Ventures is an investment and scaling platform for early growth stage startups that want to scale with speed. The firm’s focus is on finding the right partners globally among funds, family offices and accelerators and then co-investing along with them in scalable business ideas that have growth opportunities in Asia and beyond.

Starting with a fund corpus of $2 Mn in 2014, some of the firm’s investments have grown by 150% in value since then.

While the initial fund was used to invest in areas such as ecommerce, elearning, SaaS and more, the VC firm is now eyeing investment in innovative startups in the space of disruptive technologies.

Talking about Anthill’s core vision, Mahesh Balani, Partner at Anthill Ventures, told Inc42 in an earlier interaction, “We have been around for almost three years in the ecosystem. The initial investments were mostly small ticket investments in growth stage startups, at the same time helping them scale by open up sales and distribution channels for the product, financial modelling and more.”

“We participate in everything that is needed to successfully create businesses, so while it helps startups stay on their growth path, from the fund perspective too it is helpful in improving the ROI,” Balani went on to add.

At present, the investment firm has made over 21 investments so far in the US, India and Southeast Asia-based startups, of which around 60% are working out of India. Among these are home decor platform CustomFurnish, edtech firm Logic Roots, coworking space 91Springboard, automobile marketplace SparesHub, and others.

Anthill Ventures is also in the process of floating another startup fund by mid-2018.

For the upcoming fund, the average ticket size initially would be $100K-$150K, and it will also work with them for a period of 12-18 months. The venture firm would also like to be part of their follow-on funding rounds.

India’s Media And Entertainment Sector Fastest Growing In The World

The Indian media and entertainment market is currently the fastest growing in the entire world. Surpassing the global average of 4.2% CAGR by a large margin, the country’s media and entertainment (M&E) sector is poised to touch $45.1 Bn by 2021, expanding at a compound growth rate of over 10.5%.

As per a report by PwC titled “Global Entertainment & Media Outlook”, the segment has undergone substantial progress since 2016, when its valuation stood at $27.3 Bn.

Television continues to dominate the Indian media and entertainment sector, with a market share of over 46%. According to a 2017 study by IBEF, TV will likely account for up to 48.18% of the total M&E market by 2021. This is followed by print (23%) and films (11%).

In recent years, the sector has seen major technological disruption brought about by startups working in categories like online gaming, broadcasting, digital media, social networking, AR/VR, artificial intelligence, etc. Over the last few years, these startups have also garnered the attention of investors, VCs, mentors, accelerators and incubators.

As per Inc42 DataLabs, Indian digital media startups swept up over $4.5 Mn funding last year, with the major ones being POPxo ($3.1 Mn), Clip App ($1 Mn) and The Ken ($400K).

The Anthill Studio accelerator programme has been launched by Anthill Ventures and Suresh Productions to make funding and mentorship support more easily accessible to promising media and entertainment startups.

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