Mumbai-based SugarBox, a platform that enables access to several apps through a local WiFi network without depending on internet connectivity, has secured Rs 522 crore in a fresh funding round from its existing investor Zee Entertainment Enterprise Limited (ZEEL).
With the latest investment, ZEEL is eyeing to enhance SugarBox’ growth in the digital ecosystem, expanding its presence beyond OTT where it has presence via ZEE5 and advertising technology or ad tech.
The Essel Group-owned entity had acquired 80% stake in SugarBox by pouring in Rs 75 crore at a valuation of Rs 90 crore in March of 2017. The fresh funds would be deployed towards operational and financial strengthening of the company, said a Mint report without disclosing the current shareholding of ZEEL.
Founded by Ripunjay Bararia in 2015, SugarBox has developed a technology to set up servers and compute infrastructure to enable digital content consumption. It creates a hyperlocal data distribution ecosystem by installing CDN Edge servers at key places of interest or POI which users can connect to over a local WiFi network.
The commuters have to look for ‘SugarBox’ in WiFi settings and connect, open ZEE5 or Freeplay App and register using their mobile number to stream and download movies without buffering or data charges.
SugarBox POIs are available on public transport, public places, rural areas, hotels & co-living spaces and malls where a critical mass of users access a host of digital services. With more than 200 POIs, the company also claims to have 1 million network reach and over 50,000 data carriage.
SugarBox currently operates in nine cities and counts Railtel, Hyderabad railway station, CMRL, CSC WiFi, Central Railway and NMMT among its partners.
In December 2019, Hyderabad Metro partnered with SugarBox to allow its passengers to watch content or download music. Besides, its in-train entertainment facility is also available on the platforms of Ameerpet, JNTU, Begumpet, and Secunderabad (East) Metro stations.