Celebrity engagement and wishing platform, Wysh, has raised $2 Mn in Series A funding round led by Kalaari Capital. Investment firms IIMK, Gemba Capital also participated in the funding round, along with Wysh’s existing investors Whiteboard Capital, Touchstone Equities and AngelList. With this funding, Wysh plans to strengthen its marketing strategy and bring more celebrities on board.
Previously, Gifskey-owned Wysh raised $1 Mn in Pre-Series A funding From Kstart, Whiteboard Capital, WEH Ventures, AngelList and Touchstone Equities.
Launched in December 2019 by Mahesh Gogineni, Varun MS, and Manan Maheshwari, the Hyderabad-based startup provides celebrities with a way to engage with their fans while allowing them to connect with their favourite stars. Being a two-way engagement and video request platform, WYSH enables fans to get personalised video messages from their favourite celebrities. Through WYSH, users can also gift their loved ones or friends a video directly from their favourite stars.
The personalised video services are not free. Each celebrity sets a price for a personalised video from them. The celebrities can change the prices for their videos at any time, however, the customer will be charged the price that was shown when they make a request.
So far, Wysh has over 50 celebrities from North and South India on its platform. Some of the celebrities listed on the platforms include television actors Arjit Taneja and Kanika Mann; South Indian actor Priyamani and Sree Mukhi. Wysh plans to add over 1000 celebrities —TV and Movie Actors, Singers, Sportsperson and others — by the end of the year. Mahesh also added that over the coming months, the platform will be expanding its celebrity base across different categories including TV, movies, sports, singers, etc., and also across different regions of India.
Speaking about the platform, Mahesh Gogineni, CEO of WYSH, said, “In India, we love our celebrities and our desire to connect with them and make them part of our lives is unparalleled compared to any other part of the world. As a two-sided platform, it enables fans to make their dreams come true and helps celebs to connect with their fans in a way that wasn’t possible before. Hence, we believe we can scale up WYSH in India quickly and the current fundraise will help us do that.”
Commenting on their investment in WYSH, Darshit Vora, Principal at Kalaari Capital, said, “In the age of social media, celebrities want to open a two-way channel with fans and add on to their following. This is why you see celebrities do Instagram Lives and be active on social media. However, apart from brand endorsements and influencer marketing across social media channels, they really don’t have any other platforms. Hence, we believe WYSH is the right product and team to build something valuable to everyone.”
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