ALT Balaji has acquired a 17.5% stake in the celebrity shoutout platform Tring for ₹15 crore in a deal that values the startup at ₹100 crore, the former announced in a press release on Monday; the funding was previously announced by ALT Balaji’s parent Balaji Telefilms in a financial earnings announcement in September. Tring was started right before the COVID-19 lockdowns started in India, in February. Since then, the startup, which models itself after services like Cameo, claims to have over 2,000 celebrities registered.
Celebrity shoutouts have been a particularly interesting space over the last few months, as many celebrities were out of work amid filming restrictions during the pandemic. While some were able to earn some pocket change out of services like Cameo and perhaps Trill, ALT Balaji’s investment in the service is interesting, as it might indicate that the streamer plans on monetising its own brand of celebrity. Unlike larger streaming services with huge budgets, ALT Balaji’s content has always been made on a shoestring budget with new faces. Investing in a service like Tring possibly gives ALT a way to profit from its own stars’ fan outreach.
Balaji’s Joint MD Ekta Kapoor leaves little doubt that this is ALT’s game plan with this investment. “Both ALTBalaji and Tring work with talent and try to bring them a step closer to their fans and vice-versa,” Kapoor said. “We believe this synergy will work in favour of both the brands and help each other widen our reach.”
Tring’s other investors include film producer Atul Kasbekar, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Udaan CEO Sujeet Kumar, Unacademy CEO Gaurav Munjal and co-founder Roman Saini, Ventureworks India’s Keshav Sanghi, and BDI Group chair Dalbir Saini. The company has not disclosed the shareholding pattern or value of any of these investments.