Startup incubator and accelerator Recently, Venture Catalysts led an Rs 8.5 crore investment in STAGE, a hyper-local OTT platform focused on the dialect.
Several major 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 Lad (Founder-Bey Systems), Sawan Lad) also participated in the funding round (Founder, ConversionX).
Vinay Singhal, Shashank Vaishnav, and Parveen Singhal founded WittyFeed, a website for content curation, in 2014. Last year the modern-day blogging, charticle, and listicle site changed its focus to ‘Bharat’ targeted infotainment.
WittyFeed pivoted in 2019 to launch its ‘Step’ dialect-based OTT platform with art forms such as folk, poetry, storytelling, satire, and motivational content in local Indian dialects. It will also feature weekly fictional characters’ data-led satire-based material. STAGE claims to be the world’s first-ever dialect-based entertainment network that focuses on artist-led content instead of movies and web series, with a total addressable market of 450 million.
Talking to NBB Vinay Singhal, Co-Founder Of STAGE said, “We plan to use this fund to strengthen our position within Haryana by producing more quality content scale the efforts of content production in the same dialect. He also said they have started making strides in other dialects such as Rajasthani. We went live in Rajasthani last month and have received tremendous response. We will continue to build a better product and better content in the same.”
Co-founder and President, Investment Catalysts, Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, added, “Building an OTT platform requires a deep understanding of both technology and content.” Instead of dropping into the already crowded market of movies and web series by other OTT giants, STAGE has built a perfect niche for themselves by shifting its emphasis on performing arts.”
“The requisite collection of experiences under their belt in content production and using technology to monetize content would help them develop a successful business out of their new vision. Since the founding team of WittyFeed has already made its mark by becoming the world’s second-largest content maker, it is only a matter of time before STAGE can achieve similar success in India,” added Ranjan.
STAGE is currently in a pre-revenue position with plans to introduce a monetization subscription at the end of January 2021.
Recently, WittyFeed merged into STAGE in order to provide support to local artists and treat audience with local content.