FreakOut, the Singapore-headquartered global marketing technology company, has marked its first investment in the Indian ecosystem with Goa headquartered coworking startup 91springboard.
The investment in 91springboard is part of FreakOut’s ‘Funding Initiatives’ programme, announced today (September 14).
This initiative aims to nurture Indian startups while helping them expand their businesses across global markets. In the initial phase, the company will focus on adtech and B2B startups powered by cutting-edge technology, which are driven by an ambition to expand overseas.
The startups will also get support in business research, sales and marketing, as well as insights and strategic business solutions through engagement with seasoned entrepreneur Yuzuru Honda, founder and global CEO of FreakOut.
Anand Vemuri, CEO of 91springboard, said, “It is our shared vision of helping startups grow that has brought us together. FreakOut has helped many Asian startups expand into international markets, and together we are confident that we will help many Indian startups grow beyond India’s borders and simultaneously support international companies establish and grow their presence in India.”
FreakOut is a part of FreakOut Holdings and claims to be the first mobile marketing platform with in-feed native ads, in-feed video, and television sync products in Southeast Asia. It has over 3,000 premium publishing partners in the region, and its ad network consists of more than 600 employees in 16 offices across 15 countries, spread throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific.
91springboard: Helping Startups Go International
91springboard was founded in 2012 by Anuj Pulstya, Pranay Gupta, Varun Chawla, Deepak Sharma, Anand Vemuri, and Susan Lim. The Gurugram-based coworking space started its operations in Delhi in 2013.
India’s coworking sector has more than 200 players at present and 91springboard is one of the oldest in this space. It recently inaugurated its 17th facility in the country and is on the road to add three – Pune, Hyderabad, Noida- soon.
In FY17, 91springboard recorded huge growth in revenue — 1387% — making a total income of INR 19.8 Cr against INR 1.3 Cr in FY16. On the other hand, another leading coworking space, Innov8, registered a growth of just 438% with a total income of INR 1.9 Cr in FY17 against INR 36.2 Lakh in FY16.
As Inc42 reported in an article in its What The Financial series in August, 91springboard, despite being in the game for six years now, is facing stiff competition from new players in the space. In FY17, the company registered a 762% growth in losses amounting to INR 10.09 Cr, compared to INR 1.17 Cr in FY16.
However, it is optimistic about its growth and is looking to expand into international markets with FreakOut.
Indian Investments: A Step Towards Gaining Mutual Benefits
For FreakOut, investments in Indian startups such as 91springboard is a bid to further strengthen its presence in India. On the other hand, the startups it invests can drive the expansion of their business and marketing initiatives in the Southeast Asian market by leveraging FreakOut’s network.
Yuzuru Honda believes that Indian startups have great potential for growth in the foreign market considering their advanced technological levels.
“FreakOut has been investing in several Indian startups with high-level products and helping them to expand their business abroad for a few years now, and they are definitely proving their capabilities. By this investment in 91Springboard, we are aiming to ‘scale out’ to achieve better coverage,” he added.
FreakOut believes the 91Springboard investment should enable the company to engage with other similar, high-potential startups. Honda said that FreakOut intends to start a corporate venture capital fund for active investment to meet the needs of such startups in India.
“The hurdles for Indian startups to cultivate overseas markets are now decreased with their advanced technology and FreakOut will provide positive support to further lower those barriers,”said Yuzuru Honda.
The number of tech startups in India is expected to double by 2020 and provide employment to over 2 Lakh people. There is also an increasing number of SMEs and freelancers across the country looking for shared workspaces with world-class amenities.
With FreakOut’s investment, 91springboard has a wide door of opportunities to cash upon both on its homeground and in Southeast Asia as it plans, while facilitating Asian startups that have their sights set on international markets.