MediAvataar's News Desk
2-wheeler tech startup, SEPAL raises Seed Round of funding through ah! Ventures Angel Platform along with participation from leading bollywood music composers and other distinguished angels.
This is ah! Ventures 62nd investment taking its total investment portfolio to INR 189 CR (~USD 27 MN) with 9 exits till date.
SEPAL was started in 2018 by IIT-B alumni, with a goal to provide all 2-wheeler riders with the important comforts of a car, which includes complete weather protection and all the Infotainment comforts. The first of their innovations is SEPAL, which is a smart collapsible canopy that provides the rider and the pillion with compete protection from sun, rain, dust and even cold. That too entirely on-demand, i.e. users can open/ close SEPAL within seconds whenever required. And when closed, SEPAL transforms into a compact bag that snugly sits on the petrol tank not interfering with one’s riding experience.
Further, SEPAL also comes integrated with a HUD, handle buttons and an IOT platform to provide the bike riders with a safe access to infotainment comforts like navigation, music streaming, call notifications etc.
“2-Wheelers are the primary mode of transport for the majority of Indians, yet it is such a struggle to drive 2-wheelers during summers & monsoons. The ever-increasing pollution and traffic further worsens the experience. The team at SEPAL has realized the huge extent of this problem which obvious to many & decided to act on it.” said Vidhey Addepally and Kashyap Addepally – Founders, SEPAL.
It has taken SEPAL over 3 years of R&D and over 7 iterations of prototyping and testing to finally come up with the perfect solution to transform commuting experience for all bike riders. They have also confirmed partnerships with several clients in the delivery space such as Swiggy, BigBasket, Faasos and few others.
“India is the largest two-wheeler market globally. Road safety for two-wheelers or passenger vehicles in India was never accorded the priority it should have. However, road-safety is gaining momentum in India and the safety regulations & severe crash tests have created the necessary awareness among end users. The IoT technology is rapidly progressing across the globe, as it can help innovate and develop ADAS for two-wheelers as well. Team SEPAL have got this innovative product which is going to be an instant hit with Daily Commuter Utility Segment Bikers both on functionality & Aesthetics as well.” – said Navin Tekwani, Head Investor Relations & Strategic Alliances, ah! Ventures.
“I believe, if you solve an unsolved problem, chances are that you may end up building a successful business. I saw this vision in Vidhey & Kashyap. Hence not only joined as their mentor but also as an early investor in SEPAL. The problem of 2-wheeler safety and comfort was never addressed in the world till now, which SEPAL is trying to solve. We still see bike riders helpless during rain and extreme sun. The navigation & last mile issue is still unsolved which the SEPAL app will solve!” – said Deric Karunesudas, Angel Investor.
SEPAL aims to use these funds, to setup their production infrastructure and launch SEPAL into the market India-wide. In the following months, they will also be expanding their tech team and build a portfolio of innovative products to be launched subsequently. They intend to raise another funding round in 12-18 months to penetrate to all corners of India and also start expansion to other developing countries.
Indian Premier League (IPL), one of the biggest sporting extravaganzas across the world and a celebrated cultural moment for cricket fans in India recently concluded its 13th edition as Mumbai Indians emerged champions for the fifth time.
With the IPL being held without a live audience for the very first time, a lot of the action amongst fans, teams and players was observed virtually on Facebook this year. The event was a big conversation driver registering as many as 10 million+ mentions on Facebook led by fervent fans around the world with 74% of the people talking about IPL falling between the 18 - 34 years age group.
Mumbai Indians, the winners of IPL 2020 was the most talked about team this season and Virat Kohli from Royal Challengers Bangalore was the most mentioned player. We also saw a host of celebrities, creators, publishers and more come together on Facebook to share their IPL experiences and join in the conversation in their own unique ways.
Manish Chopra, Director and Head of Partnerships, Facebook India said, “Cricket transcends all boundaries and brings India together like few things do. IPL over the years has emerged as a celebration of the sport and one of the biggest cultural moments for cricket fans in the country especially in these times. As the tournament has grown, we’ve seen the experience become more exciting and engaging across the Facebook family of apps with fans coming together to comment, share, post about their favorite moments, players and teams throughout the season.”
Here are some interesting insights and trends from IPL 2020 on Facebook and Instagram
Most mentioned teams:
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Chennai Super Kings
Kolkata Knight Riders
Most mentioned players:
Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings)
Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians)
Hardik Pandya (Mumbai Indians)
Chris Gayle (Kings XI Punjab)
Top Regions leading conversations:
Love for #Hashtags:
From making favorite teams, players and moments trend to engaging with the many moments on and off the pitch during this IPL season, following are the most used hashtags that people mentioned across Facebook and Instagram:
The biggest entertainers of the Indian Film Industry and their families, bring in their teams. Govinda along with wife Sunita, Rajkummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor along with her father and brother Shakti and Siddhant Kapoor as well Riteish along with wife Genelia D’Souza Deshmukh stand in a face off for the first time, where we change the way you've heard music !
With the ongoing festive season, Zee TV has been packing one exciting surprise after another for its audience by way of 3 new fiction shows in October and another exciting supernatural fantasy thriller ‘Brahmarakshas’ on its way in November. Things are only going to get bigger and better in the coming year as the channel is all set to revolutionise the face and sound of music on television in early 2021. In what will be a clutter-breaking format innovation on reality TV, Zee TV in collaboration with FATHOM PICTURES will present audiences with the world’s first ever music league, the ‘Indian Pro Music League’ (IPML).
While the world of sports has seen several league competitions, be it in India or abroad, this first-of-its-kind music league will have six teams owned by the likes of Shraddha Kapoor along with her father and brother - Shakti Kapoor and Siddhant Kapoor, Govinda along with wife Sunita, Rajkummar Rao, and Riteish Deshmukh along with wife Genelia D’Souza Deshmukh, representing different regions of India, battling it out against each other in a musical championship. Each of these teams will have celebrated playback singers, one male and one female vocalist as their captain. Additionally, every team will also have reality stars and to add to this pool of talent, 6 fresh voices from various regions of the country, one for each team, will get a chance to be a part of this league! To be hosted by two top anchors, the Indian Pro Music League will be launched in early 2021. Akin to the format of a sports league, the show will have 5 innings comprising the league matches and a super match where audience votes and umpire points will decide the outcome of the league and declare one of the teams as the league champions.
About the format breakthrough, Zee TV Business Head, Aparna Bhosle said, “At Zee TV, we constantly endeavour to provide audiences with new, unique and cutting-edge content that gives them a sense of novelty alongside engaging entertainment for the entire family. Over the years, we've seen how league formats have become immensely popular amongst sports viewers and as a country where Cricket is nothing short of a religion, audiences at large, have embraced and internalised this exciting format. With the Indian Pro Music League, the idea is to infuse the space of music reality television with the same energy and competitive spirit that is typical of a sports league. The quotient of excitement and anticipation is enhanced by top Bollywood stars and sports celebrities owning the six teams that will compete in the championship. While we have the top playback singers of the country as our team captains and rising reality stars on board to ensure the highest bar of excellence in the music the show will produce, we're on a quest to find some new talented singers from across the country through an intensive scouting initiative as Zee TV has always believed in leveraging the strength of its reality formats to give the common man an opportunity of chasing his dreams.”
Zee Studios will be the creative and production house on the show.
Media veterans Shyamanga Barooah and Biswarup Gooptu come on board
In yet another bullish move, Indian short-format video app Mitron TV announced the expansion of its leadership team with two senior hires. Ex Bytedance executive Shyamanga Barooah comes on board as Head of Content Strategy and Senior journalist Biswarup Gooptu, who spent 10 years at the Economic Times, joins as Head of Partnerships & Policy. In his new role, Biswarup will focus on driving public policy for the company and building government alliances. Shyamanga will be responsible for developing and optimizing a tailored content strategy, whilst driving the best content practices for internal and external stakeholders.
Shyamanga Barooah is a seasoned media professional with over 20 years of experience in journalism, content creation and management. Prior to his current role, he was the Content Operation Head of Helo and Chief Editor of News Republic, which is part of ByteDance Inc, the parent company of TikTok. Shyamanga has also worked for global firms like Cheetah Mobile and leading media houses like India Today, Times Internet and Hindustan Times. A former member of a blues band, he continues to follow his passion for music.
An alumnus of Cardiff University UK, Biswarup is a media veteran with over 15 years of experience in journalism. During his stint at the Economic Times, Biswarup covered the Indian start-up ecosystem, private equity and venture capital funding amongst other beats. Biswarup has also worked with Reuters and Telegraph.
Commenting on the development, Shivank Agarwal, Co-founder & CEO Mitron said: “We are delighted to have Shyamanga and Biswarup join the leadership team at Mitron. The impact of short-video consumption and digital entertainment is growing at a rapid pace, making this sector one of the most exciting in present times. At Mitron, we are in a robust growth phase and continuing to reinvent ourselves. With Shyamanga and Biswarup’s expertise, we look forward to further strengthening our proposition and scale the business to the next level.”
Shyamanga Barooah, Head of Content Strategy, Mitron said: "It's great to be part of Mitron's amazing journey in the short-format video space in India. I feel there is a lot of opportunity within this dynamic space, especially in a storytelling and vibrant nation like India. Exciting times ahead.”
Biswarup Gooptu, Head of Partnerships & Policy, Mitron said: “I am delighted to be joining the company’s leadership team at such a pivotal time in its growth. This is an exciting time for Indian technology landscape and we are poised to become one of the leading short-video social media application.”
In just seven months, Mitron app has crossed 39 million-plus downloads on Android Play Store. As part of its efforts to support the government’s initiative of ‘VocalforLocal’, Mitron recently launched Atmanirbhar Apps, a one of its kind discovery platform for Indian applications. Currently, the platform hosts more than 100 apps and plans to bring 500 apps by the end of this year. Mitron was also the first in the space to launch categories to build vibrant communities of like-minded audiences. This particular initiative enabled users to discover the content of their interest and creators to engage with like-minded followers.
The Prakash Jha directorial emerges as a roaring success for MX Player
Having clocked ~ 450Mn streams in the 2.5 months since its release and becoming one of the biggest web shows in the Indian OTT ecosystem, Aashram has returned amidst heightened anticipation with Aashram Chapter 2 - The Dark Side that launched on MX Player yesterday. This second edition has broken records from the word go and has emerged as a runaway hit for the free to use platform. When compared to its first outing, Chapter 2 has witnessed a massive 500% higher streams on Day 1 and is performing exceedingly well on the platform - on every metric.
Speaking about the first day reaction, Prakash Jha said, “It seems like the characters and the events fictionalised in the story resonates the experience of people in real life. They definitely have connected to the emotions of the story and that has translated into this massive viewership. Working with MX Player and its team has been a wonderful experience and I look forward to continuing it.”
Bobby Deol added saying, “After Part 1, we were all excited yet nervous about the launch of Chapter 2. We’ve all put in great efforts and I am overwhelmed by the response. My character has really been greatly appreciated by the audiences and this is a huge encouragement for me.”
“It is always great to see a content piece you have created to be so widely appreciated. Aashram Part 1 had gone on to break all records and now with Chapter 2 opening with such great numbers, we believe it is set on a similar path of success”, concludes Gautam Talwar, Chief Content Officer, MX Player.
Coupled with an intriguing narrative, the well-rounded marketing campaign for this crime drama, including impactful print ads, OOH, social & digital experiences, PR and performance marketing has driven the show to achieve such great numbers on Day 1.