Hyderabad-based microcontent platform GIFSKEY, has raised $1Mn (INR 7.1Cr) in a seed round led by Kstart, the seed funding arm of Kalaari Capital. The round also saw contributions from existing investors WEH Ventures, Angelist and Touchstone Equities along with existing investor Whiteboard Capital.
GIFSKEY was launched in 2017 by Mahesh Gogineni, Manan Maheshwari and Varun MS. It is essentially a search platform which provides GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) and stickers in eight Indian languages including, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada and Gujarati. It also provides APIs for third party integrations.
According to the startup, the fresh funding will be used for business development and enhancing its technology.
Currently, the startup claims to have nearly 100 Mn impressions in a month. GIFSKEY has partnerships with around 30 apps such as Dailyhunt, Xploree keyboard and APUS. According to the platform, it is also in talks with other major content players and keyboards for partnership.
“Mobile users preferring regional language content are growing tremendously in India, and we are excited to be building a platform to deliver fresh, relevant and trending vernacular content across 8 Indian languages,” GIFSKEY founder Mahesh Gogineni said.
VCs Look To Regional Content For Growth
According to a 2017 report by KPMG India and Google, Indian language internet users are expected to grow at a CAGR of 18% vs English users at a CAGR of 3%. In a bid to tap the growing vernacular content segment, many of the investors are looking to invest in startups working in this space.
Commenting on the GIFSKEY investment, Revant Bhate, partner at Kstart said, “The traction and partnerships that Mahesh, Manan and Varun have achieved over the past year is impressive and we are excited to work with them to create a product to serve the next billion vernacular Indian internet users.”
Most recently, venture capital firm Matrix Partners India had invested an undisclosed amount in vernacular news and entertainment platform, Awaaz.
The investment was made by Kstart which was launched in 2016. The fund is solely focused on seed stage funding and is currently led by ex-Faasos veteran Revant Bhate.
In October 2017, Kstart led the seed funding round of Hyderabad based healthcare startup StanPlus where it raised $1.1 Mn funding.