Home/ Companies / ScoopWhoop sells 36.5% stake to Bharti SoftBank

New Delhi: Bharti SoftBank (BSB), a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank Corp., on Monday said it has bought a 36.5% stake in ScoopWhoop Media Pvt. Ltd for 10 crore ($1.6 million).

ScoopWhoop Media operates Scoopwhoop.com, an India-focused entertainment outlet for youth that creates and curates content online that gets shared through social networks like Facebook.

Bharti SoftBank made the investment through BSB Portal Ltd.

The partnership will combine the strengths of both—content creation by ScoopWhoop and mobile-optimized technology platform and distribution by BSB—for Indian consumers.

“The investment money will be used towards hiring more people in editorial and technology departments. Besides that, we would also invest in original video content creation," said Rishi Mukherjee, chief operating officer, ScoopWhoop Media Pvt. Ltd.

A host of boutique online start-ups such as ScoopWhoop, Storypick and Buzzfeed India have emerged in the last 6-18 months. ScoopWhoop’s website and mobile application jointly clock approximately 20 million monthly page views and have over 8 million unique visitors each month. Over 50% of these page views are accessed through smartphones, underlining the strong mobile play.

Madhu Nori, chief executive, BSB Portal Ltd, said: “About half of India’s population is under 25 years old and the use of social networks with smartphones is growing rapidly in this segment. As a result, media consumption patterns are rapidly evolving and this space is ready for disruption. The team at ScoopWhoop have demonstrated significant growth by leveraging its strength in understanding and creating locally relevant content for India’s young audience. We believe the partnership offers immense synergies for both parties to create great content experience for India’s mobile internet population." Nori is noe also a member of the ScoopWhoop board.

Founded in August 2013, the start-up is led by advertising professionals who previously worked for Webchutney. Their initial source of funding was Gravy Partners led by Sidharth Rao, the founder of WebChutney.

India is the world’s second largest mobile market with over 900 million subscribers. A vast youth population and a fast-growing economy are expected to drive data usage on mobiles with the proliferation of 3G and 4G services and increasing smartphone penetration.

Sattvik Mishra, co-founder and chief executive, ScoopWhoop, said, “We are really happy with what we have achieved in the last one year since we started ScoopWhoop in August 2013, but we also know that we have a long road ahead. In BSB, we found the perfect partner who believes in our vision and back us both financially and strategically. I’d also like to thank Sidharth Rao and Haresh Chawla for their constant guidance and advice. With the backup of right partner and advisors, we are gunning for the number one spot."

BSB Portal Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BSY Pte Ltd, which is a joint venture between BSB and Yahoo! Japan Corp. With the goal of transforming mobile internet to simple and life-enriching experiences, BSB Portal builds consumer Internet products and platforms in partnership with telecom operators.

SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son was in India last week to announce investments of $627 million in Snapdeal, an e-commerce platform, and $210 million in Ola cabs. He said at the time in an interview that the Softbank Group was meeting a clutch of smaller companies and would make small investments that caught its fancy.

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Updated: 04 Nov 2014, 12:21 AM IST
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