Banning of TikTok and other 58 Chinese apps have prompted Trell to pivot from community-based platform to lifestyle centric short video app. The pivot seems to have been working well as it crossed 12 million mark recently and now it’s raising Series A round.
According to three Entrackr sources, KTBN and Samsung Ventures are in an advanced stage to lead the Series A round. “Trell would raise $10 million from the two investors while Sequoia Surge and Fosun will also participate,” said one of the sources on condition of anonymity.
This would be the second round of funding for Trell in the past eight months. It raised $4 million from Sequoia Surge and Fosun RZ Capital. Singapore-based early-stage venture capital Beenext and WEH led a $1.25 million seed round in Trell in 2016.
“Individual investors would also participate in the Series A round that values the Bengaluru-based firm in the range of $45 million,” added the person mentioned above. “The deal is likely to be announced early next month.”
Entrackr’s immediate queries to Trell, Samsung Ventures and Sequoia didn’t elicit any immediate response. We will update the post as and when they respond.
Amid witnessing hockey stick growth in terms of downloads and engagement, short video apps have been attracting decent interest from venture capitals and individual investors. Mitron TV had raised $2 million fresh money from Nexus. The round is still open, and it can go up to $4.5 million.
Chingari, another short video app that claimed to cross 15 million downloads, is also in advanced conversations to raise up to $1.5 million at a valuation of about $10 million.
India emerged as a lush green farm for desi short video apps after the government banned China-linked 59 apps. Since Chinese companies aren’t allowed to graze in the world’s largest download farm anymore, it opens up a significant opportunity for companies such as Roposo, Chingari, Trell, Mitron, TikTik, MX TakaTak, Josh and Moj among others.
While the majority of the 59 banned Chinese apps won’t make much effort to make a comeback in India, TikTok has been trying hard to get back in India. It may register an Indian entity and has been busy answering the set of long questionnaires sent by the Indian government.
The question that continues to loom over desi apps is: what happens to them if and when India’s government allows TikTok to make a comeback?