M17 Entertainment, the Taiwan based startup that runs a slew of popular interactive streaming platforms such as 17LIVE (Livit in English), has announced closing of a $26.5Mn Series D round. The round is led by Vertex Growth Fund (“Vertex Growth”), alongside Stonebridge Korea Unicorn Venture Fund, Innoven Capital Singapore, Kaga Electronics Co., Ltd., and ASE Global Group in New York.

For those unaware, Taiwan-HQed M17 Entertainment owns and operates some of the largest live streaming platform in Taiwan, Japan and Singapore. The Company’s live interactive platforms include its flagship live entertainment streaming app 17LIVE (Livit in English markets), as well as Meme Live and live streaming shopping platforms HandsUP and FBBuy.

Founded in 2015, M17 currently claims to command a massive 60% market share by revenue, in the streaming domain in ‘Developed Asia’ (mostly Japan and Taiwan). According to Frost and Sullivan, the pure-play live video streaming market in Developed Asia is expected to grow to US$3.3 billion by 2022, and Japan is expected to be the largest market with a market size of US$1.1 billion.

M17’s platform helps artists interact directly with their fans, by live streaming their gigs and interacting with their fans during their stream. It is to the Japanese/Taiwanese talent industry what Twitch is to online game streaming.

The company plans to deploy this fresh capital in deepening its presence in Japan and the rest of Developed Asia, while planning expansion into the United States and new markets such as the Middle East, with the aim of securing substantial new users and artists.

Talking about the fundraise, M17 CEO Joseph Phua said, “M17 provides a virtual stage for performers to explore what is possible both artistically and financially, by allowing them showcase their talent and interact directly with fans everywhere in real-time. This new funding allows us to continue our mission of empowering artists around the world, through our online live streaming and social commerce platforms.”

The streaming market is hot cake right now, as coronavirus pandemic and subsequent global lockdowns force people to stay indoors. That leaves online streaming as the only source of entertainment for most millennial public. “With consumer preferences shifting to individualized on-demand viewing online, M17 is capitalizing on the need for a robust, financially viable platform for artists.”, said M17 in a press release sent to The Tech Portal.