CX Partners’ Ajay Relan, others invest in mobile cinema operator

Mobile cinema operator Picture Time Digiplex Pvt. Ltd has raised Rs 25 crore ($3.85 million) in a pre-Series A round of funding from a group of high networth individuals led by private equity firm CX Partners’ founder-chairman Ajay Relan.

Picture Time said in a statement that the money will be used to expand its mobile digiplex cinema theatres to 100 operational units by March next year.

CX Partners' Relan said that by offering low-cost mobile cinema halls, PictureTime will help address the severe theatre crunch in remote parts of the country.

Sushil Chaudhary, founder and chief executive officer of PictureTime, said the company’s aim is to use technology to not only provide high quality entertainment in rural India but to also use mobile digiplex cinema theatres as an outreach vehicle to generate awareness on educational and government schemes.

PictureTime had earlier raised seed funding from a clutch of investors including venture capital firm Helion Ventures Partners’ founders Ashish Gupta and Sanjeev Agrawal, Abhinav Sinha of Eight Road Ventures, and Canada’s Husky Energy Inc’s former CEO Asim Ghosh.

The company’s chairman Rohit Chand had also participated in the seed round.

Incorporated in 2015, PictureTime currently operates 10 mobile digiplex cinema theatre units. It has so far showcased films in remote villages of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The firm's mobile digiplex cinemas involve setting up a mobile theatre with an inflatable canopy which can seat 120 people. The theatre units have digital projectors with surround sound. Tickets cost between Rs 30-50.

The area surrounding the digiplex is typically converted into a food court along with entertainment and gaming zones.

Ajay Relan's bets

CX Partners' Relan is among a host of active angel investors in the country.

Last December, he led an equity investment in Rentickle.com, an online platform that allows users to rent lifestyle products including home appliances, furniture and cameras on a monthly subscription model.

In late-2016, he led a $1 million investment in Good Health Essentials Pvt. Ltd, a Delhi-based startup that makes cold-pressed juices under the MyGreens brand.

Relan had also made investments in fresh produce startup Frugivore and compliance management software firm LexComply as part of five bets in the space of a year.

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