Excl: Dhingana CEO Snehal Shinde on 3 key areas where the firm would use the capital raised
Social music streaming site Dhingana, which raised series B round worth $7 million led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and existing investors Inventus Capital Partners and Helion Venture Partners, is aiming to replicate how music streaming works in developed markets like the US and UK.
Talking exclusively to Techcircle, Snehal Shinde, co-founder & CEO said there are three key areas where it would utilise the capital raised.
"We have very strong focus on product and development, business development and marketing and sales and these are the core areas where the capital raised will be utilised majorly," he said.
He said iPhone and Android apps have been its flagship products, adding the company has launched apps for Blackberry and Symbian platform. "With this round of funding we are looking to the right kind of talent so that equal focus can be levied on all platforms," Shinde added.
Making an app platform-agnostic so that it runs smoothly on all kinds of phones from cheaper models to high-end smartphones is also a task for product developers and hence Dhingana wants to focus on the technology of the apps so that they run glitch-free on all kinds of handsets.
Another focus area where capital would be utilised is business development. "We just hired Ashish Joshi from Universal Music as our VP for business development and with his broad expertise in the industry we will look at content acquisition and development. We would be looking at team building in this department as well," Shinde told techcircle.
Third and final major focus area with respect to the funds is marketing and sales. "Since inception we have reached this stage with almost zero dollar spent on marketing and though we would like to continue this way we are looking at building a marketing team which can evolve new methods of user acquisition. We will then compare both paid and free modes of user acquisition and evaluate what works better for us," Shinde said.
Currently a team of 24, it is clear that this round of funding is majorly aimed at expanding the team in certain key departments. But that is not all. Dhingana's Android app will see a makeover come November. "We are rebuilding our Android app from scratch and post this update it will be at par with the US level," Shinde added. Android is the fastest growing platform for Dhingana, he added. Dhingana is adding 10,000 users on Android and iOS (combined) per day and the total user base for only these two platforms has crossed three million. The company would also focus on content acquisition in the coming year. "We have content in 35 different languages and we are looking at providing our listeners with depth in each of these languages," Shinde said.
Next year, Dhingana will launch a paid subscription model as well. "We have not been focused on revenues so far. 2012 was a year of customer acquisition and retention and in 2013 we will focus on revenue," Shinde informed.
Dhingana will be launching paid subscription models wherein the paid subscribers will get better music, more selections and lesser ads. It will adopt to a sort of freemium model where both free and paid content will be available for the listeners.
Online music streaming has taken off in India. A large round of funding in an online music streaming site is a sure giveaway that not only music lovers but investors too have great faith in such services. Free content is always loved by Indian consumers but will the same users stick to Dhingana and opt for premium content? We will have to wait and watch how this one plays out in the Indian market's context.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)