Singapore based content distribution company Shotformats has raised undisclosed sum of money in its first institutional round of funding from Matrix Partners India. What the company plans to do with this investment is not clear.
Last month, the company had rolled out its offline retail network to distribute content and apps. At the time of its launch, Shotformats had said that it plans to retail music, movies, games and apps, and roll out a distribution network of 10,000 retailers including mobile recharge and phone accessories shops over the next six months, and partner with 30,000 retailers in a year.
The initial phase of the retail launch will cover Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Surat, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Indore, Rewa, Jabalpur, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Guwahati and Siliguri. It is possible that the investment may be used for the expansion plans of this offline retail network.
Founded by Niyati Shah, Shotformats offers a range of mobile based, direct to consumer VAS solutions under the brand name, Biscoot. Its service offerings include WAP, voice based services, ring back tones and SMS packs. The company claims to use its in-house studio, SF Atelier to build its products. It primarily caters to media companies which include Eros Entertainment, Studio 18, Venus, TIPS, Viacom 18, HMV Saregama, Times Music, Sony Music, Balaji Films, among others and has also partnered with individual celebrities such as Sonu Nigam, Baba Ramdev, Murari Bapu, among others.
Competition: Shotformats competes directly with content distribution company Apps Daily which had also recently raised Rs 31 crore as Series B investment from Ru-Net Limited, Kalaari Capital and Qualcomm Ventures. Apps Daily sells and distributes its own and third party products through retail outlets across India, including games, education, health, entertainment, and other content. The investment will be used for its expansion.
It is interesting to see investment happening in the offline VAS distribution space considering that VAS companies have been talking about going offline for years. VAS companies have been keeping away from going offline due to fear of upsetting telecos, however of late companies are attempting to go offline. It appears that the rise in mobile Internet and the fall in mobile VAS may make offline models seem less threatening to telecos.