Funny biz: Online comedy out to tickle investors, too

Manisha Jha Mumbai | Updated on July 25, 2014

Viral Fever-One seeks to raise $20 million from domestic and foreign investors

There is money to be made investing in comedies — not just in theatre and movies but online as well. That’s the message The Viral Fever-One, the online entertainment division of the TVF Group, is taking to investors.

The company, which has captured the imagination of the young, tech-savvy generation with its parody videos, is in final talks to close fundraising plans for $20 million.

“We are in talks with domestic and international investor groups as well as individual investors to raise $20 million over the next one to three years and will be announcing the first phase of the investment soon,” says founder Arunabh Kumar.

Viral content

“This space looks promising from the investor perspective, largely because of the ‘virality’ of content, the user base and engagement they offer. Whether these models are sustainable will depend on how they evolve,” says Anirudh Suri, MD, India Internet Group Advisors.

Maninder Gulati, VP of venture capital company Lightspeed Ventures, believes the market for such content is worth $1 billion and could attract investor interest if the industry evolves into a smart-phone based digital network for content distribution.

Kumar, an IITian, founded TVF One in 2010. He says it is looking to finally break even. “We want to be the Flipkart of the online content network in India,” says Kumar.

All India Bakchod (AlB), another online outfit, which clocked half a million subscribers this month on its YouTube channel, will also be looking to raise capital in the near future.

“At present we are fully financed from our corporate sponsorships … The Government’s ₹10,000-crore start-up fund sounds like an exciting option to raise funds. But I am not sure it would want to fund people like us, who are likely to make fun of it,” says Tanmay Bhat, AIB Co-founder.

While these channels have a revenue-sharing model with online platform provider You Tube, the majority of their revenue come through corporate sponsorship of their videos.

Published on July 25, 2014

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