Celebrity-fan engagement startup Unlu has raised $1.2 Mn (INR 9 Cr) in a seed funding round led by Nexus Venture Partners to fuel market expansion. Mumbai Angels, VGangels, TiE and Expert Dojo have participated in the round. The company plans to use this funding to further develop its technology stack and support product development.
The company recently launched a celebrity-powered learning and entertainment platform Unluclass to enable customers to learn from renowned personalities and experts. The platform is currently live with Johnny Lever, Ruskin Bond, Manoj Bajpayee, Guru Randhawa, Saina Nehwal and Shashank Khaitan, along with others offering their expertise in sports, music, acting, fashion, comedy, writing, lifestyle, photography and more.
Unlu was founded in 2020 by Vipul Agrawal, Himanshu Periwal, Akshay Pruthi, and Anurag Dalia. The platform offers both B2C as well as B2B services that include celebrity engagement targeting key demographics. It claims to have over 1 Mn users on its platform, along with 2000+ celebrities, within a year of launch.
Before founding Unlu, Pruthi had launched content discovery platform Reach App (acquired by ixigo in 2016) and short-video platform Wishfie, where Dalia was a cofounder. The latter had also founded iSwag Apps, a tech consultation service.
Agarwal has previously founded another fan engagement platform Cricnwin back in 2017 and has worked as marketing advisors for several internet companies. Besides this, he has also invested in about 20 Indian startups including Fitso, Letsinfluence, oga.fit and Entrackr.
Periwal, on the other hand, has been previously associated with Style Theory, Urban Clap, Bain & Company, Amazon and NASSCOM among others. The founders, apart from Dalia, had previously also worked at travel aggregator Ixigo.
“We founded Unlu with a single-minded focus to understand and exceed the expectations and needs of celebrities and fans, and are excited to see the results and path forward. We understand the needs of celebrities who have tight schedules but want increased engagement with fans and need a platform to share knowledge about the craft they have perfected,” Agrawal added.
Unlu competes with other celebrities-engagement platforms TrueFan, Tring, and Wysh. Last year, Wysh raised $2 Mn in Series A funding round led by Kalaari Capital and TrueFan raised $4.3 Mn in seed round led by Mayfield India and Saama Capital. Meanwhile, ALTBalaji picked up a 17.5% stake in Tring in October. Besides this, FrontRow also raised $3.2 Mn in seed funding round last year.