[Funding alert] Venture Catalysts leads Rs 8.5 Cr investment in STAGE, a dialect-based hyper-local OTT platform

By Sujata Sangwan|26th Nov 2020
The investment will help the Indore-based startup to increase its rate of content creation and scale distribution in order to hit the next two million users.
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Startup incubator and accelerator Venture Catalysts has recently led a Rs 8.5 crore investment in STAGE, a dialect based hyper-local OTT platform. 


The funding round also saw participation from several eminent investors such as Sushma Kaushik (Partner at Aavishkaar), Sachin Bhatia (Co-founder – Bulbul.tv, former Co-founder – MakeMyTrip), Rohit Chanana (Sarcha Advisors), Ashish Tulsian (Co-founder – POSist), Vishal Maheshwari (India Head – VIU (OTT)), Hetal Sonpal (Prolific Angel Investor), Piyush Goel (Founder – Beyond Key Systems), Sawan Laddha (Founder – Workie), Janarthan Balasubrramanian (angel investor), Nandi Mehta (CFO – KAAF Investments), and Abhishek Shah (Founder, ConversionX).

“The extensive Indian market is looking to consume high quality professionally-generated content but no one’s creating it. That’s the need gap that our company is solving under this new vision of building a ‘premium and sensible content company for Bharat'. The investment will help us increase our rate of content creation and scale distribution in order to hit the next two million users,’’ said Vinay Singhal, Founder, STAGE.
STAGE

STAGE Founders (L-R): Shashank Vaishnav, Vinay Singhal and Parveen Singhal

In 2014, Vinay Singhal, Shashank Vaishnav and Parveen Singhal created WittyFeed – a content curation website. The modern-day blogging, charticle, and listicle platform shifted its focus on infotainment targeted towards ‘Bharat’ last year. 


In 2019, WittyFeed pivoted to launch its dialect-based OTT platform ‘STAGE,’ featuring art forms like folk, poetry, storytelling, comedy, and motivational content in local Indian dialects. It will also feature weekly information-led satire-based content by fictional characters. With a potential addressable market of 450 million, STAGE claims to be the world’s first-ever dialect-based content platform that focuses on artist-led content instead of movies and web series. 


Dr Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder and President, Venture Catalysts, added, 

“Building an OTT platform requires a deep knowledge of both technology and content. By shifting their focus on performing arts instead of falling into the already saturated market of movies and web series by other OTT giants, STAGE has created a perfect niche for themselves.”

“The required set of experiences under their belt in content creation and using technology to monetize content will help them build a profitable business out of their fresh vision. Since the WittyFeed founding team has already made their mark by becoming the second largest content creators in the world, it's only a matter of time before STAGE will receive similar success in India,” Ranjan added.


STAGE is currently pre-revenue and plans to launch a subscription for monetisation at the end of January 2021.


Edited by Kanishk Singh

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