Homegrown OTT platform STAGE, launched in 2019 by Vinay Singhal, Shashank Vaishnav and Parveen Singhal has raised INR 3.5 Cr in an angel round, led by Inflection Point Ventures, India’s largest and most active angel network. Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma along with other investors Sprout Investments Fund, Giri Malpani (Malpani Ventures) also participated in the round.
Being the first and the only dialect-based OTT platform, STAGE boasts of over 1.5 million downloads in Haryanvi dialect alone. It is now available in Rajasthani dialect too. STAGE plans to launch new dialects such as Bhojpuri, Maithili and Magadhi in 2021. It is also the only artist-based OTT platform in the country as well; with content in art forms such as comedy, poetry, folk, and storytelling.
STAGE plans to use the funds for building a stronger content library and launching subscription service of their platform.
Mitesh Shah, Co-Founder, Inflection Point Ventures says, “India is a country made of micro countries, with different markets from each other. While the Hindi/English language dominated OTT platforms have changed the decades old entertainment rules, we believe vernacular OTT platforms will be the next wave, considering we have large regional media consumption in the Country. Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali are some of the biggest regional content churning industries with a much higher viewer engagement statistics. STAGE is the first and the only dialect-based OTT platform in India. With 1.5m+ downloads in Haryana alone, the platform is all set to build the most hyper local content company ever built in the world. Focusing on the diversity of the country, Stage is gradually taking up different regions and increasing its penetration. Its uniqueness in idea and a great founding team helped IPV decide to fund the start-up.”
STAGE has kept its focus intact to optimize the ROI by working on professionally generated content at incredibly low prices. It has the production cost of 1/10th as compared to other OTT platforms. It aims to go beyond the centralisation and work on creating a platform focused on the regional diversity of the country.
Vinay Singhal, Co-Founder & CEO, STAGE says, “We found the right partner in IPV as their turnaround time, founder friendly processes helped us in closing the round quickly. IPV’s actively leverages its investor network strength to help its portfolio companies. They are aligned with us on our vision to build the most hyper local vernacular OTT platform ever built for Bharat.”
He adds, “We believe that languages are just an urban concept in our country, the moment we move beyond the urban settlements, everyone speaks a dialect. The great thing is most of these dialects are as big as some of the European languages. It is not just a great business opportunity to create quality content in these dialects, but absolutely necessary to preserve the unique diversity and culture of our country for the next generation.”
STAGE aims to reach about 500 million users in the next 5 years.