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People Group to invest up to $2M in media startups and P2P networks

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People Group which owns Shaadi.com, Makaan.com and Mobango, is looking to invest between $25,000 to $2 million in early stage media-related startups and peer-to-peer networks, reports The Economic Times.

The group made its first investment earlier this month, by participating in the education activity kits maker Flinto’s $300,000 investment round.

That being said, it’s worth noting that People Group founder & CEO Anupam Mittal is an active angel investor and has made over 40 investments (in personal capacity) including Zapstitch, IndiaCollegeSearch and Olacabs among others. The ET report notes that one of Mittal’s prominent investments was in the digital marketing agency Interactive Avenues, which was acquired by IPG Mediabrands in March 2013. We’ve written to Anupam Mittal for more details on this and will update once we get a response.

It’s worth noting that P2P lending space, which is one of the form of P2P networks, has been gaining momentum over the past few years in the country. Milaap had raised $1.1 million from Jungle Ventures in July last year while Smita Ramakrishna and Ramakrishna NK founded peer to peer online lending platform Rang De that provides micro-credit to low income entrepreneurs through social investments, had started allowing foreign investors to invest in social enterprises from January last year.

The report also mentions that this move comes at a time when the company is exploring options to provide an exit to existing investors like WestBridge, Sequoia Capital and Intel Capital who had invested $18 million in the company back in 2006. The company is now apparently exploring an IPO or roping in a strategic investor. Mittal told the publication that they are taking a call on this by January or February next year.

Info Edge investments: This reminds us of a similar approach taken by People Group’s competitor Info Edge that has invested more than 300 crores on companies like Zomato, MeritNation, Canvera, PolicyBazaar and MyDala among others.

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In August this year, Media company HT Media had also stated plans of acquiring digital startups to strengthen their existing digital investments like Shine (recruitment business), HT Campus (education marketplace and lead generation engine for private college admissions) and HT Mobile solutions (mobile and social advertising).

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