Celebrity-fan engagement startup TrueFan has raised $4.3 Mn in a seed funding round from venture capital firms Mayfield India and Saama Capital, and Ronnie Screwvala, media industry veteran and serial entrepreneur.
Founded in January 2020 by Nimish Goel, Nevaid Aggarwal and Devender Bindal, TrueFan aspires to connect Indian fans with top celebrities through personalised, interactive experiences. The platform enables users to play simple quizzes around celebrities and the winners get a personalised video message from those stars, as well as cash rewards or both. Users can participate in the quizzes on the TrueFan platform by paying around INR 50.
Nimish Goel, cofounder & CEO, TrueFan said, “Indians harbour unconditional love towards celebrities. Being a fan myself, my personal experience of gate-crashing a wedding to meet my dream idol, Virat Kohli holds testament to this. We aspire to fulfil lifelong dreams of millions of Indian fans and get them closer to their idols.”
The fan-engagement space is a growing segment in the Indian startup ecosystem, with a host of mobile applications vying for a piece of the pie. TrueFan competes with Wysh, a celebrity-fan engagement and wishing platform. TrueFan works on similar lines as Wysh, which also connects users with favourite celebrities. Although, Wysh doesn’t offer users the option of playing quizzes based on their favourite celebrities.
“The celebrity-fan engagement market in India has huge growth potential. Tapping into this, TrueFan has successfully onboarded some of the topmost celebrities with an innovative business model. Nimish and the founding team are young, purposeful and strongly business-driven which clearly differentiates them from the pack.” said Nikhil Khattau, managing director at Mayfield India.
Launched in December 2019 by Mahesh Gogineni, Varun MS and Manan Maheshwari, Hyderabad-based Wysh allows users to request a “Wysh” or a personalised video by placing a request with a message for a celebrity. The user will receive the complete video in their inbox, ‘My Wyshes’ section. In addition to this, the user will also receive a downloadable video link in their registered email. The video can also be shared or downloaded using the Wysh app.
However, the personalised video service is not free. Each celebrity sets a price for a personalised video from them. The celebrities can change prices for their videos at any time but customers will be charged the price that was shown when they make a request.
Besides TrueFan and Wysh, there are a host of fan-engagement startups for ardent sports fans, such as Edisn.ai and Rooter, besides fantasy sports platforms such as Dream11 and HalaPlay, among others.