POPxo, the digital community platform for women, today raised $3.1 million in a round led by IDG Ventures India and Kalaari Capital. The round also saw participation from GREE Ventures Japan, Phillippines-based Summit Media, Gurpreet Singh, and Atul Goel.
Launched in March 2014, POPxo claims to have over nine million monthly users. Priyanka Gill, Founder and CEO, POPxo, says it has been a phenomenal journey, and that their platform allows millions of women to connect with each other. She adds that it is a safe space where they can read, watch, shop, and hang out.
“We focus on leveraging our large user base to generate transactions—beginning with affiliate e-commerce across categories. This fundraise will help us deliver on the faith our audience, brand partners, and investors have shown in POPxo,” adds Priyanka. She feels this new funding is an endorsement of the opportunity to serve Indian women consumers.
Over 80 percent of POPxo’s user base is made up of women and over 70 percent of their traffic comes from outside the top five cities. The team claims that users largely access the platform on both mobile web and the app.
POPxo claims to run India’s largest influencer network of bloggers as well as campus ambassadors across 200 campuses. The platform has also partnered with leading consumer brands like Hindustan Unilever, Puma, Whisper, Tanishq, OPPO, L’Oreal, Reliance, Amazon, and Jabong to amplify brand messaging to this key demographic through native advertising and large-scale influencer activations. POPxo has worked with over 175 brands.
Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, Founder of Summit Media, believes that POPxo currently has a lot of momentum, as proven by their audience growth across platforms. “That, coupled with trends which point to advertising moving to digital media as well as explosive e-commerce growth in India, bodes well for the company. It is our first investment in India and we can see a lot of synergies going forward,” she says. Vani Kola, Managing Director, Kalaari Capital, also believes that young women in India seem to be embracing the POPxo model as it combines a digital community with content that empowers them.
Founded by Priyanka Gill and Namrata Bostrom in November 2014, POPxo had raised Rs 3 crore from Rajan Anandan, CaratLane’s Mithun Sancheti (via Chennai Angels), and others. It also raised an additional $2 million from IDG Ventures and Kalaari Capital in November 2015.
At present, there are appropriately 60 million Indian women online and the number is expected to grow to 300 million by 2020. While BuzzFeed is among the global leaders in terms of engagement for listicles and 'viral content', POPxo has competition with players such as MissMalini and Femina, who also cater to women.
Over the past few years, the number of women-centric content platforms has grown. In May last year, SheThePeople.TV raised funding from Anand Mahindra. It just isn't the funding rounds that the women-led platforms are raising, there has been an increasing focus on women-driven content.
There is also an increasing focus on digital content creation platforms. Between 2015 to now, several digital content and news platforms have raised funding. Apart from POPxo, Kalaari also invested in ScoopWhoop in November 2015. In the same year, YouthKiAwaaz raised Rs 4 crore, in February 2016, Newslaundry raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Omidiyar Networks. News aggregation platforms like DailyHunt also raised $25 million Series D funding in October last year.
It, therefore, would be safe to assume that digital content is currently something that investors seem to be betting on.
(Disclaimer: Kalaari Capital is an investor in YourStory Media)