Smule, the leading social network for music, today announced a strategic investment from Times Bridge, the global investments and partnerships arm of The Times Group, India’s oldest and largest media company. Times Bridge has entered into a strategic partnership with Smule and concluded an investment worth over $20 million in the company.
This long-term partnership with Times Bridge will give Smule a strategic edge as it scales up operations in India, its second-largest international market.
Founded in 2012, by Jeff Smith and Ge Wang, Smule has been described as “the biggest music app you haven’t heard of” by CNET in 2018 [Refer].
With 50 million monthly active users, Smule is playing a pivotal role in transforming the music landscape from one of passive listening to collaborative creation and expressive sharing. On Smule, users are able to collaborate with and listen to all types of music, with anyone from anywhere in the world.
Smule is Times Bridge’s third investment this year, after investing in MUBI and Houzz, in their bid to expand their existing investment portfolio of innovative consumer tech companies.
Smule has raised a total of $176.5 million in funding over 11 rounds. Its investors include Tencent Holdings, Adams Street Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and Cherry Tree Investments, among others.
Times Bridge will also guide Smule in engaging India’s multi-lingual music culture. Leveraging its vast network of media assets, Times Bridge will partner on varied aspects such as community building, collaborations with top artists, targeted regional programs and advertising. Smule is the first social music platform to partner with Times Bridge in India.
India has a long and rich history of music. Its varied culture and shared passion for music makes it a priority market for Smule. With this investment, Smule plans to increase its exposure in the Indian digital music market and grow the market organically. Smule is keen to tap into India’s flourishing diverse music culture and is pioneering a unique way for people to create and engage with music. In May 2017, Smule raised $54 million in a financing round led by Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.
“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,” said Jeffrey Smith, Smule’s CEO and co-founder. “Smule is about empowering our community to do more of what they love – from singing with their favourite celebrities to collaborating with friends to discovering new music. We’re thrilled to find a partner that both shares our vision and has the cultural insights and market reach to deliver it.”
Rishi Jaitly, CEO of Times Bridge, said, “Times Bridge’s mission is to bring the world’s best ideas to India and share India’s best insights with the world. 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. We are delighted to be working with a partner who approaches India with the empathy, conviction and optimism that the Indian market warrants.”
Times Bridge is a leading investments firm with a mission to bring the world’s best ideas to India and share India’s best insights with the world. Its current portfolio includes Airbnb, Coursera, Houzz, Uber, Thrive, and MUBI, among others. By providing unmatched market leadership to its select partners and by harnessing the assets of The Times Group, India’s largest media company, Times Bridge accelerates growth and immersion across the Indian subcontinent for leaders who believe in winning in and learning from India.
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