Media group NDTV Ltd, which has been building up its digital content and commerce ventures over the last two years, said on Wednesday that it has raised VC funding for its new e-commerce ventures in gadgets and car & bike at a combined valuation of close to $80 million (Rs 500 crore).
It did not share further details on the funding amount but said Inflexionpoint (co-founded by former Apple CEO John Scully), Pramod Bhasin (former CEO of Genpact), consumer-focused VC firm Sixth Sense Ventures, Vindi Banga (former chairman, Unilever India), Hiro Mashita (founder and director of M&S Partners) and other HNIs participated in the first round of funding for the two separate ventures.
It said Gadgets 360 will provide a curated marketplace for exclusive launches of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets. NDTV claimed Gadgets 360 (currently known as NDTV Gadgets) gets over 20 million unique visitors every month and the deal valued it at close to $50 million.
At present, the portal essentially offers content related to gadgets including news and reviews. The proposed changes will see it morph into a site that also allows consumers to purchase the product.
The other property is Fifth Gear Auto, a new auto portal that aims to elicit the attention of those who follow NDTV's car and bike programming. This again appears to be another move to add digital commerce within its existing auto related content site NDTV Auto. It already offers features such as searching and comparing car models and even booking a test ride. In this domain, it would compete with ventures like CarWale, Cardekho and its separate site Gaadi among others.
The firm said the current auto site was launched a little over a year ago and that the venture has raised funds at a valuation of close to $30 million.
It is yet to rebrand either of two sites and both run as sub domains of the NDTV news site with the parent site carrying them as tags. Its move to attract VC funding for these two verticals are interesting as the firm is essentially monetising its content portal by integrating e-commerce to them.
Besides gadgets and automobiles, it also has food and movies as verticals. The company may be looking to monetise them too in the future.
Early this year, NDTV Ethnic Retail Ltd, a subsidiary of media group NDTV that owns and operates ethnic wear-focused e-commerce venture Indianroots, had raised $5 million in a Series A round of funding from Mumbai-based KJS Group. At that time NDTV had said the deal was struck at a valuation of $85 million.
NDTV said IndianRoots has clocked a gross merchandise value of Rs 21.7 crore last quarter, over six-fold growth over the same quarter last year.
Interestingly, the valuation of these three ventures combined now appears to be more than that of parent NDTV. The company, which is in the red and declared its financial results for the first quarter on Wednesday, saw its share price crash over 8 per cent on Thursday morning and the company is presently valued at Rs 757 crore ($120 million).