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Music streaming company Saavn raises $100mn Series C round led by Tiger Global

A little over a week after Apple finally
launched its
Apple
Music service in 100 countries
, including India, music streaming service

A little over a week after Apple finally
launched its
Apple
Music service in 100 countries
, including India, music streaming service
Saavn secured $100 million Series C round led by Tiger Global.

According to a
TechCrunch report, existing investors Bertelsmann India Investments, Steadview
Capital, Liberty Media, and Mousse Partners also took part in the round. Saavn
revealed also that it added a number of new backers, including Quilvest,
unnamed hedge funds from Hong Kong and “a number of strategic individuals.”

The company
plans to invest the money scaling its service and moving into video. A
spokesperson told TechCrunch that the round values Saavn at $300-400
million.

Saavn was
founded in 2007 by Rishi Malhotra (Co-Founder & CEO), Vinodh Bhat (Co-Founder
& President) and Paramdeep Singh (Co-Founder & Executive
Chairman) and is headquartered in New York with offices in India.

In India, it
competes with Gaana.com from media giant Times
Internet, Rdio — which acquired
shuttered Indian rival Dhingana
 and launched in India this year —
and music and video service Hungama, which raised a $100
million round
of its own earlier this year.

Saavn claims to
now have 14 million monthly active users. Co-Founder & CEO Rishi
Malhotra told TechCrunch that the service is adding more than one million MAUs
per month, and he expects that it will surpass 20 million MAUs by the end of
the year.

Since Saavn is
focused on India – Malhotra told TechCrunch that it has a sizable presence
within the Indian diaspora overseas and in the Middle East – there are
major differences between it and its global peers.

Malhotra revealed
that a whopping 90 percent of Saavn’s users — let alone plays — are on mobile. Android
is the mainstream mobile operating system in India, so that is a major factor
for Saavn.

“There are local
nuances [in India] that you have to learn from a product perspective,” the
Saavn CEO told TechCrunch in an interivew. “Android proficiency is one of them.
We became a front runner on Android streaming…that’s obviously necessary when
80 percent or more devices shipping [in the market] are Android.”

Beyond mobile
and Android, another consideration is consumer culture. Malhotra — and many
others — believe that consumers in India and other emerging markets are less
open to paying for services. Even though Saavn’s lowest ‘pro’ deal is priced at
just Rs. 120 per month.

“It’s not
only India, but we believe that emerging markets will be driven by
intelligent ad support systems for some time,” he told TechCrunch.

The company has
doubled down on its advertising system, and it plans to invest in growing its
sales force.

Music aside,
Saavn plans to foray into video services. “The real purpose of this raise
is to continue developing our product, acquiring a larger userbase, and
investing in the right components that make a healthy media company,” Malhotra
was quoted in the report as saying.

“We want to
become an entertainment ecosystem for mobile,” he added in the report.
“That means new audio products and also video, absolutely. The exciting
thing about the [Indian] market that we can be part Spotify, part Pandora, and
part Netflix.”

“[Saavn] has built a leadership position
in a unique marketplace while at the same time developing a world-class music
service. We’re excited to support Saavn as it continues to define India’s mobile
entertainment market,” Tiger Global partner Lee Fixel, told TechCrunch. 

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