Xiaomi, Sequoia invest in entertainment chat app Samosa Labs
Team Samosa Labs

Hyderabad-based social media and chat entertainment platform Samosa Labs has raised $7 million (Rs 48 crore) in a fresh funding round from handset maker Xiaomi and venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India, a top company executive told TechCircle.

The startup will use the funds to ramp up its bandwidth capabilities, Abhilash Inumella, co-founder and chief executive of the venture, said in a telephonic conversation.

“Since the primary touchpoints on our platform are videos, bandwidth capabilities become imperative in our business. Every user consumes at least 60-100 MB per day. Hence, bandwidth and server expenses become a major cost in our business,” he explained.

In 2015, the company had raised $1.3 million from Sequoia Capital as part of its seed funding round, he added. For Xiaomi, this is the third such known investment into a digital media and entertainment startup after Hungama and Sharechat.

The development was first reported by The Economic Times.

Samosa Labs
Run by Samosa Labs Software Solutions Pvt Ltd, the venture was founded in 2015 by Inumella, Abhimanyu Pamulapati and Rahul Reddy Koora. The company operates a mobile app where users can create and edit videos with filters and stickers in permitted regional languages and share them on social media platforms like Facebook and chat or set them as WhatsApp statuses. Users can also access funny videos and movie dialogues from Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada movies.

The venture generates revenue from advertising with brands. Inumella added that the company will onboard more brands in the future and this will continue to remain a significant revenue stream, he added.

As per information available on the app’s Google Play Store page, the Indian languages currently compatible on the platform include Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada. The app, which is also available to iOS users, has seen over one million installs from its Google Play Store page alone.

“We have focussed in the south so far. The plan is to enable more regional languages and expand into the north,” Inumella said.

A computer science graduate from International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-H) Hyderabad, Inumella had previously worked at Facebook in its engineering vertical, his LinkedIn account shows.

Recent deals in the space
A few ventures in the video creation space have raised funding in recent times.

Last month, Bengaluru-based Trell, a mobile-first video blogging app, raised $1.25 million (Rs 8.58 crore) in seed funding led by early-stage venture capital firms Singapore-based BeeNext and Mumbai-based WEH Ventures.

In May, video creation platform Rocketium.com Technologies Pvt. Ltd raised Rs 2 crore (around $300,000) in a seed round of funding from early-stage venture capital firm Blume Ventures and a clutch of angel investors.

In the same month, Bengaluru-based Wishfie, a platform launched in 2017 for live video debates on current affairs, raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round to build vernacular content as well as its online community.

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