Matrubharti, a vernacular content start-up from Ahmedabad has today announced that it has closed a round of angel funding from US-based Gujarati NRI angel investors to the tune of Rs. 3.24 crores.
The funding comes on the back of Matrubharti launching its OTT video streaming platform Matrubharti Vishesh in July this year, after being selected for Gray Matters Capital’s Digital Accelerator Program – GMC Calibrator in March 2019.
One of the angel investors in this funding round are Darshan Jani, a serial entrepreneur turned investor with over 20 years of experience in the tech industry evenly distributed between US and India. He was VP of Engineering, Products and Operations at Automation Anywhere – a $2.6billion company and a global leader in Robotic Process Automation.
The other 2 investors are NRIs from USA, they have invested through their companies called Surya Holdings LLC and Ferrana LLC.
Matrubharti is an Indian content community platform helping writers publish their content and to reach out to their target readers. The content is in the form of stories and episodic novels that is written in vernacular languages like Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi.
Matrubharti has also launched its OTT video streaming platform called Matrubharti Vishesh which curates videos of Theatrical Plays, Short films, Web series, Elite Author speeches, Stand-up comedy, Poetry Shows and a host of User Generated Content.
Speaking about the funding, Mahendra Sharma, Founder and CEO, Matrubharti said, “It is their love for India and her languages that has magnetized the interest of our investors, and validated by the growth potential seen from the macros of the next 500 million internet users in India will be from semi urban and rural ‘Bharat’ who’d prefer to consume their informational and entertainment content in vernacular. We at Matrubharti aspire to be the Netflix of Bharat and a platform of choice for such internet consumers.”
Matrubharti has now over 1 Million registered users and over 250,000 Monthly Active Users (MAUs).
With this funding, it aims to add content in 3 South Indian languages soon on its platform and build stronger technology and data intelligence to engage users better. The money would also help it boost its sales efforts besides expanding into geographies with a strong presence of Indian diaspora.
“We are aiming to grow 3 fold with this funding round,” added Sharma.
Surmounting the OTT Monetization Challenge
Matrubharti is partnering with content production houses, theatre schools and event organizers to help them monetize their visual content on its community platform. It is also testing monetization with advertisements from hyper local businesses.
“While monetization is a challenge faced by competing OTT platforms; we are overcoming this challenge through better user engagement. Users of Matrubharti spend as much as 25 minutes per session per day on the vernacular books and videos, which is above the industry standard. We believe that longer the screen time, higher the possibility to monetize via advertisements,” said Sharma. “Given the uniqueness of offline event content, content licensing is another revenue stream that we’ve been exploring”.
Unique selling proposition
Matrubharti’s content from over 100 offline events conducted across 30 cities over the last 3 years under its banner differentiates it from competition
User generated content (UGC) is one of the prime features of Matrubharti where over 2.5 lakh pieces of textual content and over 10,000 videos are uploaded by its community members. Such videos are mostly from offline community events like Open Mic, Poetry reciting, Storytelling and Performances which are curated by Matrubharti.
With the launch of its OTT Video streaming platform – Matrubharti Vishesh, its content library also boasts of 150+ high quality videos of Video stories, Web series, Short Films, Stand-up comedies and Theatrical plays which are in Gujarati and Hindi language, with a run time of 30 – 90 minutes.