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With Special Occasion, NDTV enters the online weddings market

Venture capital firm CerraCap Ventures has invested $20 million in NDTV's new e-commerce portal

New Delhi: After e-commerce, news broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) is entering the online wedding market, armed with funding of $20 million from venture capital firm CerraCap Ventures.

The investment in Special Occasion Ltd, an NDTV subsidiary headed by Sachin Singhal, “is a validation of our digital strategy", said Vikram Chandra, group chief executive officer. “We have been able to demonstrate our capability with indianroots.com, gadget360.com, carandbike.com, all of which have seen keen investor interest. Weddings is yet another business where we already have a high brand recall through our marquee shows in the wedding space. We are confident that with CerraCap’s investments, we will be able to roll the latest of the NDTV e-commerce ventures, successfully," he added.

Indianroots, an online shopping platform, in May raised $5 million at a valuation of $85 million from KJS Group. It gets close to 4,000-4,500 orders a month with an average ticket size of Rs17,000, with 60% of the business coming from India.

In August, the media company also announced the launch of three e-commerce websites across the gadgets, automobile and food categories.

With the launch of Special Occasion, NDTV is seeking to entrench itself in the digital and e-commerce space. “The wedding industry in India is a $40 billion market which is highly disorganized and has operated the same way for decades. With India’s growing tech-savvy population, this market is ripe for disruption," said Saurabh Suri, managing partner, CerraCap Ventures.

The wedding business in India has a long runway for growth, said Smeeta Chakrabarti, president-revenue, NDTV Group. “The wedding business in India is growing at a huge 20% year-on-year. There are 10 million weddings every year in India and this is a massive opportunity. Not just weddings, festival spending is also huge and this platform will be the go-to destination when you are getting married or attending a wedding or celebrating any special occasion."

Singhal, the chief executive of Special Occasion, brings 10 years of experience in key start-ups to the business. A technology entrepreneur, Singhal has been instrumental in setting up and scaling online brands like naaptol.com, and letsbuy.com.

“People are looking for answers on how to achieve their dream wedding... How to navigate from dream to reality... The new platform will be a game changer and will provide 360 degree solutions in the wedding and festival space. With the growing internet population and the adoption of smart phones, this space will disrupt too," said Singhal.

In October, NDTV’s digital arm NDTV Convergence signed a deal worth 90 crore with content discovery platform Taboola to strengthen its digital advertising revenue.

NDTV’s consolidated digital revenue was 26.2 crore in the three months ended 30 June.

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