Mumbai-based digital media entertainment company Hungama Digital Media Entertainment has raised $25 million (around Rs 165 crore) in a round led by Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc. Existing investors Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who is also the chairman of Hungama, participated in this round.
The round also marks Xiaomi’s maiden investment in an Indian company, and its strategy to introduce localised content and internet services on its smartphones in this country.
“We think of smartphones as a platform for us to deliver internet services and this includes content. We are investing in Hungama not only to start integrating content into our smartphones, but also to grow together with them and deepen our understanding of the content sector in India,” said Hugo Barra, vice president, Xiaomi, in a statement.
Xiaomi has invested in more than 50 startups globally. In 2015, it invested $300 million in online video provider iQiyi and has also picked up stake in China’s largest video streaming site Youku Tudou.
The Economic Times had earlier reported that Xioami was looking to invest in Indian companies that develop services and apps which can be integrated on its proprietary mobile operating system, MIUI platform.
In 2014, Hungama had raised $40 million in a round led by Bessemer Venture Partners, in which existing investor Intel Capital had also participated.
Hungama said the new funds will be used to expand its content library and further invest on its technology platform for its mobile apps – Hungama Music and Hungama Play – which offer premium video content including movies, television and original series. Hungama will soon add over 1500 hours of television content along with original content to its Hungama Play platform, which currently has 8000 movies in English and 12 Indian languages.
“India is adding eight million new consumers to the internet each month with 90 per cent of digital consumption being driven by mobile,” said Neeraj Roy, CEO of Hungama Digital Media Entertainment.
According to Roy, content will drive the next phase of digital India and the company hopes to bring premium and original digital entertainment to Indian audiences before the end of this year.
Launched in 1999, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment offers an array of digital media services that includes, music, movies, video and games.
The company, which claims to have over 65 million monthly users, also owns and runs Bollywood news portal, BollywoodHungama.com and a platform for Independent Artists, ArtistAloud.