OTT platforms clocked an enviable rise in prominence during the pandemic, during which people turned to them for viewing their favourite TV shows and films. Even in the post-pandemic era, the growth of OTT platforms has remained steady, with many new, niche OTT platforms entering the fray. One such platform, India’s STAGE, focuses on content in local Indian dialects, and has now picked up ₹40 crore in a new investment round.
The dialect-based OTT platform nabbed the capital in a fresh bout of funding on Tuesday, which was led by Blume Ventures and included the participation of NB Ventures, Dholakia Ventures, TSM Ventures, and WeFounderCircle. Other participants in the funding bout included angel investors Mumbai Angels, Tarmac Ventures, Tailwind Ventures, Longtail Ventures, Lets Ventures, and AngelList, along with STAGE’s existing investors Better Capital, IPV, TCA, Venture Catalyst, and others.
The valuation of the platform after the latest round of funding was not disclosed. This comes after the platform raised ₹31 crore in a previous round of funding, bringing the total amount of capital raised through funding to ₹71 crore.
According to Vinay Singhal, co-founder of STAGE, the proceeds from the funding round will be deployed towards creating more original content and growing its product. It will also dedicate capital to deepen its penetration in Haryana and Rajasthan – the platform has an ambitious goal of capturing 10% of the over 25 million households who consume video content (in both states) by the middle of next year. Today, the three-year-old platform has over 2,25,000 subscribers and offers content in Haryanavi and Rajasthani (which was launched in June 2022).
And by the time 2027 rolls out, STAGE aims to offer content in a wider range of dialects and launch in the top 20 dialects of the country, “which have a potential to reach 200 million+ households.” “STAGE’s vision is to become a platform for entertainment, connection & celebration of cultures for all dialect-speaking people in the country,” Singhal said.
“STAGE’s slogan describes the passion and motivation of the team to build for the immense diversity of languages and dialects that India offers. Building quality content is the best bet to conserve our dialects and languages and this is STAGE’s mission. With two dialects launched and dozens more to build, we are excited to be partners on this journey,” said Karthik Reddy, co-founder and Managing Partner of Blume Ventures. Reddy is also a former member of Mumbai Angels, which (as mentioned earlier) participated in the latest bout of funding by STAGE.