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Exclusive: Video-sharing app Roposo gets fresh capital in down round

Exclusive: Video-sharing app Roposo gets fresh capital in down round
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Roposo, a social platform for sharing photos and videos, has raised Rs 12 crore ($1.7 million at current exchange rates) in a fresh round of funding from Bertelsmann India Investments, two people familiar with the development told TechCircle.

The four-year-old startup received the money at a valuation of around Rs 174 crore (around $25 million), the above-mentioned persons said on the condition of anonymity.

This is significantly lower than the post-money valuation of Rs 478 crore — as per TechCircle estimates — that Roposo had received when it had raised Series B funding of $5 million from Bertelsmann India back in April 2016.

Bertelsmann India Investments is the strategic investment arm of one of the world's largest mass media companies, Germany-headquartered Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA.

One person cited above said the latest infusion was likely to be part of larger Series C round that Gurugram-based Roposo hopes to close over the next couple of months. It could not be immediately ascertained whether the company is in talks with Bertelsmann or other existing and new investors in this regard.

As part of the latest transaction, which is believed to have taken place sometime over the last two months, Bertelsmann India principal Rohit Sood has joined the board of Roposo, a second person said.

Pankaj Makkar had earlier represented Bertelsmann on Roposo’s board before resigning in June this year, show filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).

E-mail queries sent to Roposo and Bertelsmann India seeking further details did not elicit a response till the time of publishing this report.

The startup is also backed by US-headquartered investment firm Tiger Global, from whom it last raised $15 million in a Series A round in April 2015. VC firm India Quotient and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal are also investors in Roposo.

Roposo

Founded in July 2014 by Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi graduates Mayank Bhangadia, Avinash Saxena and Kaushal Shubhank, Roposo started out as a fashion-focussed social network that offered curated choices across categories such as apparels, footwear, accessories and lingerie.

Last year, it pivoted to a video-sharing app. In its current form, Roposo is essentially a mobile app where users can share videos and images. Users can create videos with the help of filters, stickers and effects, as per information available on its Google Play store page.

Run by Relevant e-solutions Pvt. Ltd, the app supports nine languages that include English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi and Bengali. Besides, Roposo also offers content under specific categories through its channels Haha TV, Bhakti, Look Good-Feel Good and Beats.

The company claims its Android app has been downloaded eight million times, with more than one lakh new videos being created by its users every day.

According to the company’s filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Roposo’s operational revenues grew to Rs 83.75 lakh in the financial year 2017-18 from Rs 31.67 lakh in the previous fiscal. 

The company also managed to bring down its gross expenditure to Rs 24.75 crore, from Rs 33.27 crore the previous year. Employee and marketing expenses continued to drive the majority of expenditure.

Consequently, net losses also came down to Rs 20.56 crore from Rs 31.98 crore the previous year.

Deals in the space

Social networking platforms — particularly video-sharing platforms offering vernacular content — have attracted considerable interest from investors in the recent past.

In September, vernacular social networking platform ShareChat raised Rs 720.29 crore ($99.23 million then) in a round led by existing investor Shunwei Capital.

Eminence Tech & Services Pvt. Ltd, which operates video-based social networking app Spoofin, raised an undisclosed amount in bridge funding from Mumbai Angels Network in September.

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