AI-based vernacular content startup Instoried gets VC funding
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Instoried Research Labs Pvt. Ltd, which runs an artificial intelligence-driven tech content startup, has raised funding from US-based venture capital firm SOSV and its Chinese arm Chinaccelerator.

The company didn’t disclose the amount it raised.

Instoried co-founder Sharmin Ali said SOSV’s investment will help the startup expand its reach.

Bengaluru-based Instoried Research, founded in 2018 by Ali and Sutanshu Raj, operates an artificial intelligence-based tool that helps brands to strategise, execute and deliver content using predictive analysis to increase customer engagement.

Separately, SOSV general partner and Chinaccelerator managing director William Bao Bean said the VC was confident in its investment as marketers would be able to leverage Instoried’s technology to better engage and sell to their consumers.

“We are excited because Instoried is doing the same for corporate communications, leveraging data and machine learning to drive emotional engagement for the traditional industry,” Bean added.

Ali, a graduate of the Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology in Bengaluru, has previously worked as a senior business analyst with management consulting firm Mu Sigma. Raj, an alumnus of Tampere University of Technology in Finland, has been associated with ASADEL Technologies Pvt. Ltd and the Public Health Foundation of India.

The company says its tool is also able to provide customised recommendations of words and phrases to clients. Currently, its services are available in English and Hindi.

In August last year, the Instoried raised $500,000 (around Rs 3.57 crore) in a seed funding round from incubator and accelerator Venture Catalysts. At the time, the startup said it would use the funds to expand into other languages.

Deals in the vernacular segment

Investor attraction to startups serving content and services in regional languages has grown, with companies seeking to move their core audience beyond Tier-I and Tier-II locations. Firms across sectors have received funding.

In November last year, regional language news aggregator and classifieds platform Lokal raised $3 million (around Rs 21.20 crore) in funding from a clutch of investors, including the Bengaluru-based 3one4 Capital and the US-based seed investor Y Combinator.

In July, vernacular gaming platform WinZO raised $5 million (around Rs 34.46 crore) in its Series A funding round led by an early-stage VC firm Kalaari Capital and messaging platform Hike. In the same month, Bengaluru-based Headfone raised $750,000 (around Rs 5.15 crore) in seed funding from Fosun RZ Capital, the VC arm of Chinese conglomerate Fosun International.

Prior to that, in June, vernacular self-publishing e-platform Pratilipi raised $15 million (around Rs 104 crore) in a Series B round led by the China-based Qiming Venture Partners. Nexus Venture Partners, Omidyar Network India, Shunwei Capital, Contrarian Vriddhi Fund and WEH Ventures also participated in the round.

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