Bengaluru-based media-tech startup, ZAPR, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Flipkart, with participation from Saavn, Micromax and Mu Sigma cofounders - Dhiraj Rajaram and Ambiga Dhiraj. This round also saw participation from existing investors- Dinesh Agarwal, Samir Bangara, Sanjay Nath and Arihant Patni.
ZAPR was cofounded in 2012 by IIM Ahmedabad batchmates, Deepak Baid, Sajo Mathews and Sandipan Mondal. The startup claims to be India’s largest media consumption repository and audience targeting platform. Their proprietary technology ZAPR profiles gives the offline media consumption behavior of millions of Indian television viewers. This enable the content owners and brands identify their offline audiences and re-engage with them across digital, mobile and social universes.
ZAPR was a graduate of the first batch of GSF accelerator and since then it has been working closely with numerous media veterans like Samir Bangara. Samir, formerly MD Disney (Digital) and currently the co-founder and MD of Qyuki has been associated with ZAPR as an angel investor and mentor, supporting the team on strategy and fund raising. Other media and technology veterans such as Roshan Abbas, Naveen Tewari, Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Rajesh Kamat, are also investors in ZAPR. Speaking to YourStory, Sandipan, CEO, ZAPR said
We’ve built a proprietary frequency fingerprinting technology through which we partner with multiple third party apps and develop features for them. We have built a technology platform that is able to detect live television in a similar way that Shazam detects music.
ZAPR relies on a B2B model to generate revenues and currently has two key products- ZAPR Data and ZAPR audience. Most of their 'data' services come come with a monthly subscription fee or a one time access fee. ZAPR also works with brands through their 'audience platform', executing campaigns for them. Through their database, ZAPR helps brand target and reach the right audience. Sandipan added,
We can now power 'ZAPR audience' based on consumption parameters and interests. For example, we can push the promotion of a new TV show to audiences who have watched the last season of that show or people who see similar TV shows. What 'cookies' have done for desktop advertising industry by analysing browsing behavior and then targeting relevant ads, we do across television and mobile."
As the importance and need for 360 degree marketing increases for brands, ZAPR aims to connect the TV screen with the mobile screen, to ensure that the same user can now be engaged across several mediums.
Sandipan told us that they had spent the last few years honing the product and will now use the funds they have raised to enhance their tech capabilities, expand their product portfolio and also hire people in non-tech roles .While ZAPR's current focus is on television, Sandipan mentioned that their technology is platform agnostic. He added,
As of today, television still happens to be the most popular medium. But we are focussing on non-linear formats too, keeping the future in mind. In fact, we are already piloting our services across radio.
Unlike a few decades ago, capturing users attention is now much harder and though television is still the most preferred medium for advertising, smartphones are definitely the future. This is evident from the fact that brands are now increasingly looking to move their budgets from TV to mobile platforms, where they have a more intimate relationship with the end user.
ZAPR looks to operate at the intersection between television and mobile. They currently claim to be monitoring and collecting the data and viewership trends from over 300 TV channels across 1500 locations covered across urban and rural India. Backed by industry veterans from a variety of sectors, it will be interesting to see how long ZAPR's key focus will remain on television, before they focus on other channels.