Entertainment-and-lifestyle content platform MissMalini has closed a $1.4 Mn (INR 10.4 Cr) pre-Series A funding round led by venture capital firms Orios Venture Partners and New Enterprise Associates (NEA).
The pre-Series A investment has been raised to expand MissMalini’s leadership position with a focus on community building and to further expand its content, technology, analytics, and sales operations.
The company will build a full-service integrated video production unit, launch vernacular content, and continue innovating with new engagement platforms.
Malini Agarwal, founder and creative director at MissMalini Entertainment, said, “This pre-Series A funding comes at just the right time, as we continue experimenting with exciting new content formats to attract new audiences.”
MissMalini: From A Blog To A Publishing Platform
Starting in 2008 as a blogger, Malini Agarwal has leveraged the rapid adoption of social media by Millennials to establish the platform.
In the last 10 years, the company has built a multi-platform media network reaching over 40 Mn people a month across its multiple properties.
This includes a blog, social media, television, digital radio, digital video, and OTT services, and, most recently, a national best-selling book. MissMalini also claims to have a community of more than 10 Mn direct followers and fans with an in-house team of 65.
MissMalini currently offers content in categories such as Bollywood, Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle. It faces competition from both legacy advertisers in the business as well as new players such as Filter Copy, POPxo, Little Black Book, Buzzfeed India, ScoopWhoop, and TVF.
Indian Digital Entertainment: Increasing Opportunities, Tough Competition
Rehan Yar Khan, managing partner at Orios Venture Partners, believes that digital entertainment in India is riding on the back of a large emerging market and is constantly innovating to cater to changing audience preferences and new technology.
“MissMalini has been at the centrestage of this transformation from the very beginning, enabling Malini and her team to understand the pulse of her readers — creating and curating content in the most consumable manner. This makes her and her venture a worthy ‘misfit’ — who dared to think of unconventional ideas and help build her venture from scratch,” he added.
According to a June 2018 report by the IBEF, the Indian digital advertising industry is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 32% to reach $ 2.93 Bn by 2020, backed by affordable data and rising smartphone penetration.
The report also said that Google’s video platform — YouTube — plans to increase its userbase in India to 400 Mn, as rising Internet penetration in rural areas will enable consumers to access videos on their smartphones. This will further urge local players in the Indian digital entertainment space to expand their offerings and test the waters in vernacular content to be on par with players like YouTube.