Digital Radio Start-up Venturenet Secures Series A Funding From Ojas Ventures
Venturenet Partners Pvt Ltd has secured an undisclosed series A funding from Ojas Ventures Partners which will enable the Bangalore-based start-up to expand the services of its existing in-store radio channel, dubbed as SpotRadio, and also to boost resources for yet-to-be-launched consumer Internet radio services, which will operate under the brand Radiowalla.
Launched in August 2011, Spot Radio has partnered with 20 national retail chains (with over 2,000 sites nationwide) and is aiming to grow to a record 10,000 sites by the end of the year. Radiowalla, scheduled to be launched in April, will initially offer Internet audio channels (both music and non-music).
Venturenet is co-founded by Anil Srivatsa and Harvinderjit Bhatia, who have been in the industry for more than two decades.
Srivatsa also launched America's first Internet radio channel for the Asian Americans. Before launching Venturenet nearly a year ago, he was the CEO of Kings XI Punjab, one of the cricket teams of the Indian Premier League. Earlier, he had also served as the COO of Radio Today Broadcasting (Meow 104.8 FM).
Bhatia, a chartered accountant with over 22 years of experience in corporate finance, private equity, media content and distribution, was the CFO of Radio Mirchi where he managed the IPO of the parent company (Entertainment Network India Ltd). Currently, Bhatia is the CFO of Netmagic Solutions.
As part of the deal, Pavan Krishnamurthy and Raghu Batta from Ojas will join Venturenet's board.
Commenting on the announcement, Krishnamurthy and Batta of Ojas Ventures said in a joint statement, "In Radiowalla founders, we saw a set of passionate and experienced entrepreneurs taking an innovative approach to build a music-based business that addresses a large and growing market opportunity. We are confident that our operating experience, together with working closely with the founders, will help in creating a valuable company."
Ojas is an India-centric, technology-focused early-stage VC firm, backed by Nadathur S. Raghavan, co-founder and former MD of Infosys. The VC firm invests in technology-based businesses across sectors like mobile technology, telecom, SaaS, embedded software, low capex semiconductor, Web applications/services and consumer Internet.
"We are delighted to have Ojas as investors in our company, given their track record of helping early-stage entrepreneurs in building businesses. We especially liked the operating experience they bring, which will strengthen our effort to create value for all stakeholders and consumers," said Harvinderjit (Harry) Bhatia, co-founder of Radiowalla.
In another deal in this space, Saregama invested in a Bangalore-based firm called Timbre Media last year. The company was floated by former WorldSpace Radio employees.