San-Fransisco based music-focused startup Smule has raised INR 147 crore of funding in a strategic investment round led by Times Bridge. The firm looks forward to expanding its presence in our country as India is the second largest international market for music based industry in the world.
Times Bridge, the global investment arm of the Times Group, will work with Smile to build communities, collaboration with artists, advertise and create targeted regional programmes. Earlier this year, Times bridge has invested in film streaming service MUBI and Houzz, an online marketplace for home improvement and home decor.
“Indian audiences are passionate about connecting through music. We want to enhance those connections in an authentic way and we are thrilled to partner with Times Bridge to marshal the best of The Times Group on Smule’s behalf,” Jeffrey Smith, chief executive of Smule, said in the company statement.
Smule has earlier raised $54 million from Chinese internet giant Tencent in 2017. The 10-year-old company was valued at over $600 million at the time of investment. Investment firms like Adams Street Partners, Bessemer Ventures, Floodgate, Franklin Templeton and Shasta Ventures are among the backers of the startup.
“Smule is a deeply original, bold idea with a mission of changing the way the world experiences music. Our investment will advance Smule’s music mission across the Indian subcontinent and unlock the creativity of many millions along the way,” Rishi Jaitley, chief executive of Times Bridge, said.
Tencent has also invested $115 million in Gaana, an online music streaming app innovated by Times Internet, the digital business arm of the Times Group. Smile let users sing along with their favourite artists and collaborate with other users across the globe to sing and share their voices. The company claims to have more than 5 crore monthly active users