Sequoia Capital, DSP Group and 3one4 Capital lead Rs 100 crore funding round in Pocket Aces

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A clutch of investors, which includes Sequoia Capital, DSP Group and 3one4 Capital, have led a Rs 100 crore funding round in Mumbai-based Pocket Aces, the digital entertainment company announced on Tuesday.

This is the second equity financing round led by Sequoia Capital and 3one4 Capital in the five-year-old company, with both venture capital firms having earlier reported to have pumped in $3 million into the company in December 2016. In a prepared statement, the company also said that there were other prominent investors participating in the new round, but did not disclose names.

Founded in 2014 by Ashwin Suresh, Anirudh Pandita and Aditi Shrivastava, Pocket Aces will use the proceeds from the latest round to further invest in content, technology and talent, according to an official statement from the company.

“This investment is a recognition of our leadership in the sector and an acknowledgement of the large potential of the digital entertainment market. With massive penetration of mobile internet in India and a large consumer base hungry for local content, we believe that there has never been a better time to build a large content business here,” the founders said in the official statement.

Pocket Aces, which claims to have increased viewership by 25 times and monetisation by 15 times since its last fund raise in 2016, also claims to clock about 500 million viewsand thereby, being the most viewed internet-based network in the country.

“Pocket Aces has exceeded expectations in creating a high quality mix of mobile-friendly, episodic and interactive content offerings. They are building a truly impactful business in India’s exploding digital entertainment industry,” Shailesh Lakhani said in the company-issued statement.

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The company also stated that it plans to multiply its social distribution by starting three new content channels over the next 12 months, and aims to hit a run-rate of 1 billion monthly video views on original content by 2020.

It will also build capability to create as many as 30 long-form shows a year, while also bolstering its senior leadership team and invest in training and culture development, the press release stated.

“With data-driven continuous feedback loops to help rigorously improve their production and narrative quality, their (Pocket Aces’) pioneering multi-format and cross-platform approach to video has engaged the widest segments of the mobile-first demographic,” Pranav Pai, managing partner at 3one4 Capital, said.

The company also said that it will continue to invest in Loco, the live and interactive esports app it acquired last year, with an aim to hit 50 million users in the next two years. It also operates three other channels – Short video platform FilterCopy, food and lifestyle-focused Gobble and long-form video platform Dice Media.

“The Pocket Aces team has used their deep experience and grounded empathy for their audience’s consumption behaviour and tastes, to build amongst the largest and most viewed content portfolios in the country,” Pai said.

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