Excl: Digital magazine store Magzter raises Series A funding from IndoUS Venture Partners; To enhance offerings manifold
New York-based digital magazine store Magzter Inc. has secured series A funding from IndoUS Venture Partners. Although the exact amount has not been disclosed, it is an estimated $3-5 million, according to co-founder and president Vijayakumar Radhakrishnan.
Magzter was set up in June 2011 by two Indians -- Vijayakumar Radhakrishnan and Girish Ramdas. And the service has been available in India since October last year. Currently, Magzter claims to house around 400 magazines from India, Singapore, the UAE (Dubai), Malaysia, the US and the UK. Hosted on Amazon's Cloud platform, Magzter also enables publishers to digitise their publications and sell those to global users. Although the digitisation platform is free for all publishers, there is a 50-50 revenue sharing on sales.
Speaking to Techcircle.in, Radhakrishnan said that the capital raised would be mostly utilised to increase sales across the geographies. "Since we have a platform that can technically support 25,000 publishers without any hassle, we are looking at expanding our footprint to other countries as well," he added.
The company is also looking to raise Series B round of funding in the next 10 months to the tune of $10-15 million as it has major expansion plans on the cards. One of the initiatives, slated for an early release, includes HTML 5 support for all magazines -- thus helping publishers make their magazines more interactive in terms of advertisements. There's another first-of-its-kind initiative as Magzter is developing an online marketplace for advertisers and publishers. "Currently, not much 'exclusive advertisement' is happening as far as digital magazines are concerned. Whatever ads you find, are the ones published in the print editions. We are looking to change that by creating this marketplace where both parties can interact," Radhakrishnan told Techcircle. Also, the store is looking to increase the number of magazines from 400 to a massive 10,000-20,000 in the next 18 months.
He also said that the Indian market is still new for digital magazines (not so many are there if you count them). But with the iPad adoption (or any Tablet for that matter) gradually increasing, the numbers are going up. Magzter claims to have around 2.5 million users till date, of which nearly 750,000 are from India. Cooking, gadgets and vernacular magazines seem to be most popular in the country.
"We have major plans for the market. We want to be a digital content superstore by upgrading our content from magazines to books, movies, music and even newspapers," summed up Radhakrishnan.
Currently, Magzter has digital magazines for iPhone, iPad and Android. But the newer versions of Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian and BADA are also coming soon.