SAIF Partners Invests $5M In Online Video Site iStream.com
Private equity firm SAIF Partners has invested $5 million in A2 Media Pvt Ltd whose flagship product is the online video site iStream.com. The four-year-old company has recently launched its own platform for streaming content across multiple genres like news, TV shows and movies.
iStream was founded in 2007 by Radhakrishnan Ramachandran (founder & CEO) and Chellappa Dhanukodi (co-founder & CTO). In 2000, Ramachandran had co-founded Indiasyndicate.com, a content management company in the digital space, managing clients like MSN India. Before that, he was chief of bureau at CNBC. Dhanukodi has extensive experience in database technology, having worked at Oracle Corporation for more than five years where he managed multiple applications products.
SAIF Partners India head Ravi C Adusumalli and vice-president Mukul Singhal will join the board of A2 Media. It also has George Zacharias, former MD of Yahoo! India, on its board of directors.
Online video streaming is among the fastest-growing segments in the digital media space with the likes of Netflix and Hulu dominating advanced markets like the USA, the company said in a statement.
"Our goal is to help Indians around the globe discover and enjoy their favourite programmes, at their convenience, on multiple devices and that, too, in multiple Indian languages," said Ramachandran in a statement.
iStream.com has started by offering news videos across all major Indian languages, both live and on demand. The TV and movies sections will be launched by December this year. The company is also working on a device-centric approach, beginning with the launch of its iOS app by next month.
The company plans to make its product available across a range of devices including mobile phones, set-top boxes, gaming consoles and connected TVs, according to Dhanukodi, co-founder and CTO of the company. It has hired people from companies like Google, Yahoo!, Akamai and Verizon to execute its device-centric strategy.
iStream started its operations in 2007, tying up with digital platforms like MSN India, Daily Motion, Sify, etc., to showcase their partners' content. It has online partnerships with several Indian broadcasters, including exclusive deals with top networks like Viacom 18, offering Colors and MTV India. iStream also entered a tie-up with YouTube three years ago and became one of their largest partners in the country, clocking close to a billion video views till date.