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Balaji Telefilms’ ALTBalaji buys into celebrity engagement platform Tring
Tring founders Akshay Saini, Rahul Saini, and Pranav Chabadia

ALTBalaji, an over-the-top streaming and subscription video-on-demand service, has acquired a 17.5% stake in celebrity digital engagement platform Tring.

The investment values Mumbai-based Tring at Rs 100 crore (about $13.62 million at current exchange rates), ALTBalaji said in a statement.

ALTBalaji is investing Rs 15 crore in Tring, an external spokesperson for the company said, without elaborating.

ALTBalaji, operated by ALT Digital Media Entertainment Ltd, is a wholly owned subsidiary of movie and television series producer Balaji Telefilms Ltd.

Balaji Telefilms managing director Shobha Kapoor said the investment will help the company to deepen connections with audiences across India. Joint managing director Ekta Kapoor said both ALTBalaji and Tring work with celebrities and try to bring them a step closer to their fans and vice-versa. “We believe this synergy will work in favour of both the brands and help each other widen our reach,” she said.

Tring, operated by BD Inno Ventures India Pvt. Ltd, was set up in February this year by Akshay Saini, Rahul Saini and Pranav Chabhadia. The startup says it has over 2,000 celebrities on its platform. It offers digital services such as personalised video shoutouts and messages, live video calls and direct Instagram messages.

In May this year, Tring raised an undisclosed amount in angel funding from a clutch of high-profile investors including Flipkart chief executive officer Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Unacademy co-founders Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh, and Udaan CEO Sujeet Kumar.

ALTBalaji says 65% of its users come from non-metro locations including Tier-II and Tier-III towns and cities. It also claims to have nearly doubled its direct subscription revenue on a year-on-year basis.

According to VCCEdge, the data research arm of Mosaic Digital, it posted net sales of Rs 41.87 crore for 2018-19 and a loss of Rs 114.92 crore.

Tring is among a handful of startups in the relatively nascent celebrity engagement space. In August, TrueFan raised $4.3 million (Rs 32 crore) in a seed funding round. TrueFan, whose founding team includes Warburg Pincus alumnus Nimish Goel, raised this capital from investors such as Ronnie Screwvala, Saama Capital and the domestic arm of the United States-based Mayfield.

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