What makes India an important market for SoftBank-backed Picsart

In a conversation with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch, Avnish Patel, SVP of Strategy and Ops, Picsart, shares the company’s plan for fund utilisation and future roadmap.
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Photo and video editing app Picsart sees the highest level of engagement on its platform in India. The San Francisco-based company says there was a 45 percent increase in its active monthly users in India during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In fact, the app’s download figures also shot up by more than 40 percent in the Indian user market. The growth is majorly witnessed in the categories of engagement rates, user base, and revenue. 

Picsart hit the $1 billion valuation mark earlier this month after SoftBank Vision Fund 2 infused $130 million into the company. The Series C round also saw participation from GSquared, Tribe Capital, and existing investors Sequoia Capital, DCM, and Graph. 

Avnish Patel, SVP of Strategy and Ops, Picsart, says the fundraising is a testament to the platform the company has built, and it was fortunate to be significantly oversubscribed. 

“We ultimately chose SoftBank because we thought they could help us the most as we continue to expand up the market, and their global reach is going to be very important for our future growth,” says Avnish. 

The company considers India to be one of the most promising markets. The focus will be shifting towards making the platform more localised to stay relevant to the Indian regional user base. 

“We have a long-term view on India and want to continue investing there in terms of the business, product side, and our global engineering teams, but specifically, to how we continue to serve local, regional users,” explains Avnish. 

Picsart has set up a team in India that will invest in marketing and build a product that reflects how the Indian community creates and engages on the platform. 

India harbours one of the largest millennial groups, which include a diverse range of content creators. According to Morgan Stanley Research, there are 400 million millennials in India, accounting for one-third of the country's population and 46 percent of the workforce.

The growth of the video editing app in India is also a result of the COVID-19 led lockdown that restricted people into their homes. The app industry saw downloads reaching nearly 35 million during the pandemic, according to App Annie. 

With these developments, Picsart saw a huge opportunity in helping users with a creative outlet and an easy marketing tool.

The recently turned unicorn will also be utilising these funds in improving the flow of its product, and in the development of artificial intelligence. It has an artificial intelligence lab and a senior bench of AI researchers, indicating that a lot of new tools will reflect AI. 

“Our roadmap continues to reflect the organic use case that we are seeing on our platform,” comments Avnish on the future prospects of the app. 

He adds that Picsart is regarded as an app primarily for consumer use like selfies and artistic expression. Now, it is naturally seeing a movement towards professional use cases where it plans to further invest. 

Picsart has over 150 million monthly active users across 180 countries. It has raised $195 million in funding since its inception in 2012, with more than $100 million in annual revenue run rate. 

In a report by SensorTower, Picsart was among the top 20 apps on Google Play for worldwide downloads in the first quarter of 2021.

Edited by Suman Singh

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