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Former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly has made his first startup investment in video aggregator Flickstree.The company has raised Rs 3 crore from Venture Catalyst, Aditya Group (Kolkata) and Moksh Sports, apart from Ganguly.
Ganguly will be promoting the company apart from being a key stakeholder. "To invest in startups is something new. Movies and cricket are popular across the country creating maximum controversy and entertainment for the audience and hopefully few years down the line we will see success in this venture, " he said.
Several of Ganguly's former team mates have made investments in startups and are also promoting them. Sachin Tendulkar has backed IoT startup, Smartron, Yuvraj Singh has his fund YouWeCan Ventures Technology, through which he has invested in half a dozen startups including wellness platform Vyomo, online education startup Edukart and marketplace for helicopters and airplanes JetsetGo. Furthermore, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli have investments in fitness startups.
Calling itself "India's first personal video magazine", Flickstree will rely entirely on advertisements for revenue. All the content will be curated from free-to-watch sources and customised according to user preference. The company has currently tied up with video sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo apart from original content creators like TedTalk and Daily Motion for sourcing their content. Flickstree is currently awaiting Intellectual Property Rights on their deep learning algorithm that helps recognise user interests and suggest content. The app currently has over 50,000 users on Android while the iOS version is yet to be released.
"Our algorithm watches videos like human beings. Our content is largely India focused but very soon we will focus on markets like Australia and non-English markets like Indonesia where smart phone penetration is high," said CEO Saurabh Singh. The company will not be investing in creating original content and focus purely on free content for the next 15 to 18 months. The target consumers are app users who source content from a number of different apps and sources on a single platform. Flickstree is using their own deep learning APIs ( software programs) developed by CTO Nagendra Sangra.
" We launched Flickstree when IT sector was on the cusp of a video revolution and a lot of content creators jumped in. Reliance Jio had an impact on data prices and now all other providers have also joined in. The ecosystem for video content has changed dramatically," said Rahul Jain, COO of Flickstree with regards to the video demand in India.
The app shot to fame when they made it to the final list of Facebook's FBStart programme which provides server space, prototyping and mentorship from Facebook teams. "Most important thing that FBStart provided was a validation of our business value," added Jain.