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Venture Catalysts leads funding in performing arts platform STAGE
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Catchup Technologies Pvt Ltd, which operates hyperlocal over-the-top (OTT) platform STAGE, has raised Rs 8.5 crore (approximately $1.15 million at current exchange rates) in a funding round led by startup incubator and accelerator Venture Catalysts.

Other participants in this round include Aavishkaar partner Sushma Kaushik, Bulbul.tv co-founder Sachin Bhatia, Sarcha Advisors’ Rohit Chanana, angel investor Janarthan Balasubrramanian, and POSist co-founder Ashish Tulsian.

VIU India head Vishal Maheshwari, angel investor Hetal Sonpal, Beyond Key Systems founder Piyush Goel, Workie founder Sawan Laddha, KAAF Investments finance chief Nandi Mehta, and ConversionX Abhishek Shah also took part in this round.

STAGE was set up by Vinay Singhal, Shashank Vaishnav, and Parveen Singhal. It originally began life in 2014 as WittyFeed, a content curation website before pivoting to its current model last year.

The OTT platform says it features art forms such as folk, poetry, storytelling, comedy and motivational content in local languages and dialects such as Haryanvi, Bundelkhandi, Rajasthani, and Konkani. It will also feature information-based satirical content.

The platform will use the capital it has raised to accelerate its content creation and scale distribution to reach at least two million users, Singhal said.

“By shifting their focus to performing arts instead of falling into the already saturated market of movies and web series by other OTT giants, STAGE has created a perfect niche for themselves,” Venture Catalysts co-founder and president Apoorva Ranjan Sharma said.

STAGE says it is currently at a pre-revenue stage and plans to launch subscription-based monetisation by the end of January next year.

Venture Catalysts

The incubator-cum-accelerator was set up in 2015 by Sharma, Anuj Golecha, Anil Jain and Gaurav Jain. It invests between $250,000 and $1.5 million in early-stage startups and provides networking opportunities and mentoring to its portfolio companies.

It also operates an investment vehicle – the 9Unicorns Accelerator Fund – that hit its first close at Rs 100 crore (around $13.7 million) in September.

Some of its recent investments include insurance-technology startup Ensuredit, AI-based culinary platform Klovechef, beverage brand BrewHouse Tea Brewing Co., employee service desk platform Rezolve.ai, retail-technology startup Gully Network, electric vehicle charging services startup Charge+Zone and business-to-business healthcare product distribution platform Biddano.

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