"EDITION 144"

Published: 8/27/2020

Good morning, it's Wednesday and we've got quite a bit of news to cover today. But first up, I've got a small scoop that I came across on Linkedin- Chainsmokers (yes the DJs) have invested in Biyaki (the hottest Indian YC company of the batch). I could be completely off-base here but I think the company might've raised a couple of Million in their seed round from investors exclusively based in the US (and maybe some participation from Indian YC alums). Coming to the day's news, one more Cameo clone in India & a new VC fund started by Mindtree's founders.

  • https://bit.ly/3luBJ4j: Celebrity fan engagement platform raises $4.3M
  • ➡️ Celebrity fan engagement platform TrueFan has raised $4.3M in a (seed?) round led by Ronnie Screwvala, Mayfield India & Saama Capital. The company was founded by former Warburg Pincus execs in January.

    ➡️ There are already a lot of companies in a similar space (Tring, Wysh, YoShot and Celebrify) but TrueFan differs in a couple of different ways. The company seems to have the bigger bollywood stars on the platform, which the other platforms haven't been able to accomplish yet.

    ➡️ The app is also not exactly focussed on connecting fans & celebrities directly, but instead users pay money to participate in quizzes and winners get personalized videos or interactions from the celebrities. While this doesn't guarantee the user some sort of interaction with the celebrity, it is certainly much cheaper (Rs. 50).

    ➡️ I haven't looked into TrueFan too much but their model definitely seems interesting. As their investor Ronnie Screwvala puts it- "This is the perfect blend of gamification meets media meets content" and is probably poised to do better than the pure-play direct celebrity engagement platforms.

    ➡️ I do also think having Ronnie Screwvala as an investor is probably a good moat for the company. He is a very well known movie producer and the founder of UTV that he later sold to the Walt Disney Company. As a majority of the revenue is centered around the biggest stars, the platform that has them has the best chance.

    2. https://bit.ly/32uSYcP: Mindtree founders launch Mela Ventures to invest in early-stage companies

    ➡️ The co-founders of IT company Mindtree, Krishnakumar Natarajan and Parthasarathy NS, have marked the first close of Rs 130 Cr for their Rs. 200 Cr maiden fund. The firm is a SEBI-approved fund that aims to mainly invest in B2B early-stage companies.

    ➡️ The fund aims to focus on deals in the AR/VR, AI/ML & quantum computing space and a core criteria is that companies should be solving scalable problems for the enterprise. The partners are well versed with building a huge enterprise company in India and started Mela after a hostile takeover by Larsen & Toubro last year.

    ➡️ The fund will invest Rs 7 - 10 Cr in early stage rounds (they aim to do 4-5 in the next 18 months) and seeing how the seed stage is exploding in India, Mela might not be able to lead the investments it makes (might have to co-lead or be the minority investor).

    ➡️ Another thing about the fund that stands out is that their entire LP base is from India as the partners want to help the Indian growth story by raising money from Indian investors, helping Indian companies grow & delivering returns to Indian investors. Raising a fund as a fund manager sounds hard enough, but doing it in a pandemic from all Indian LPs sounds insane!

    Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/rajeshsawhney/status/1298230643373948929

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