Hyderabad-based Viven Infomedia, which operates Kahaniya.com, an online storytelling platform in regional languages, has raised $200,000 (Rs 1.29 crore) in a seed funding round from a bunch of undisclosed US-based non-resident Indians (NRIs), Pallav Bajjuri, co-founder of the startup, told VCCircle.
The startup will use the funds to add more languages to its platform, Bajjuri said.
“We realised that there is a huge vacuum in the availability of regional language content in categories like literature and education. The regional content on the web is dominated by films, news, and music,” he explained.
Kahaniya was launched in May 2016 by Bajjuri, Devendar Gona, Jeswanth Padooru and Sandeep Ponagandla. The platform allows a user to publish and monetise content in regional languages. Prospective publishers can monetise their content by charging for a book, single chapters, or a series, and can develop it further based on the response received.
Users can publish both freshly produced content or older ones as well. The platform so far has 30,000 pieces of content and onboarded 800 Telugu writers, out of which almost 70 have collectively generated Rs 2.2 lakh in revenue.
Kahaniya acts a marketplace, so every purchase that goes through its platform generates a commission.
“Since we try to exercise significant quality and standards, not many of the writers on our platform can monetise content,” Bajjuri said.
The platform, which started out with Telugu as the primary language, will add Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam over the next months. Besides, the company is also evaluating the business-to-business segment as a potential revenue channel.
“Broadly, there will be two aspects to our B2B play: to help companies communicate better in regional languages and to better engage with employees,” he explained.
The founders earlier operated a social journalism platform called Saddahaq, which was put on the backburner in late 2015 over funding issues. However, Bhajjuri added that a revamped version of the platform will be launched in 2018.
Other startups in the broader online content space include viral content platform WittyFeed, which in September this year secured pre-Series A from a group of angel investors.
In August, Tiger Global Management was in advanced talks to lead a $10-15 million round of funding in its portfolio company, news media startup Inshorts, a report in The Economic Times had stated.