In a funding round led by Inflection Point Ventures (IPV), India’s only dialect-based OTT platform, STAGE, acquired Rs. 3.5 crores. The round witnessed participation from Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Giri Malpani of Malpani Ventures, and Sprout Investments Fund.
STAGE, an Indore-based startup, is the only OTT platform in the country that showcases recorded content such as poetry, storytelling, comedy, etc. and that too, in regional languages.
The platform claims to have over 1.5 million users for just the Haryanvi content. In five years, they aim to be able to reach over 500 million users. They also have the Rajasthani dialect now and plan to expand to more languages such as Magadhi, Maithili, and Bhojpuri by the end of this year. The newly acquired funding will be used for this purpose as well as to provide a monthly subscription service for their users.
The founders Vinay Singhal, Parveen Singhal, and Shashank Vaishnav, launched Stage in 2019 when they noticed an untapped market in the OTT segment.
Hindi and English-based OTT platforms have garnered immense success but there is still a need for a platform to consume media in regional languages. With India being home to hundreds of regional dialects, STAGE seems like the best way to diversify the content available online to satisfy a larger audience.
The company claims that its production costs are about one-tenth that of other OTT platforms, thus maximizing ROI (Return On Investment) as much as possible. STAGE’s founders were previously associated with platforms like Innervoice by WittyFeed and Bhasad, which allows users to submit their stories, jokes, poems, etc., gaining huge reach in a short span of time.
Co-founder and CEO, Vinay Singhal, said that apart from being a lucrative business opportunity, such a venture is crucial to preserve the diversity and culture of our country for posterity. Mitesh Shah, co-founder of Inflection Point Ventures shares this sentiment. He thinks that a platform for regional languages is a smart idea as these industries have begun producing more and more content with steady growth in consumption as well. IPV’s steadfast belief in this model reflects in the way their investor relations have been leveraged to help in STAGE’s development.
STAGE had also previously secured Rs.8.5 crores worth of funding in a round led by Venture Catalysts in November 2020.