Malaysia headquartered video streaming service iflix is open to raising additional capital “if someone very strategic would be interested”, iflix co-founder and Catcha Group’s Patrick Grove has told this portal, a day after the company announced it had raised $90 million in a funding round by telecom firm Liberty Global Plc and Kuwaiti telecom operator Zain and other investors.
Going by the industry buzz, in a bid to compete with competition like Netflix and realize its international expansion plans, iflix would need to raise an additional $100 million. The industry buzz is that the company, while having closed a $90 million round, is still on the road, looking to raise anywhere between $70 million to $100 million, to speed up its expansion plans, and also spend towards producing original content.
The recent funding round announced by iflix on Tuesday is meant to support its expansion to the Middle East, Africa and new markets throughout Asia.Apart from Liberty and Zain, additional capital also came from existing shareholders Sky PLC, Catcha Group and Los Angeles-based Evolution Media, an investment company that partners with entertainment, lifestyle, media, sports, and technology businesses.
Noting that the recent funding round is “closed,” Grove told DEALSTREETASIA in an email that for now, the company had raised what it needed. He declined to comment on the valuation of this round, as also if the company was currently raising additional capital of up to $100 million.
iflix that is competing with international players like Netflix is focused on emerging markets, and has a subscriber base of about 5 million at the moment. It is also is planning to launch original content in most of its markets this year, Grove pointed out.
Grove started the company along with Mark Britt who is iflix CEO, with support from others that includes private equity firm TPG Growth and now iflix would cater to a 2.5 billion population with smartphones in emerging markets who have a passion for cultural influences from around the globe and want access to the best entertainment content available easily and reliably.
The huge market for video content has also led to competition in this space. Amazon and Netflix are expanding their services globally and also the existing broadcast players in each country who are catching up to it by providing new plans and services.
When asked about its USP, when compared to competitors, Grove said: “We have local content and foreign content in local subtitles at a local price. They don’t”
With regard to a timeline for turning profitable, Grove said that disruption internet TV in emerging markets takes time and the company is focused on that.
Sky Plc, media baron Rupert Murdoch’s European broadcaster that has participated in this round also invested $45 million in iflix last year, a funding after which iflix may have hit a valuation of $500 million. Earlier in 2015, iflix raised $30 million in series A funding round.
In the announcement for the $90 million funding round, Grove said, “When we founded iflix, we set out to create an entertainment revolution. In less than two years since launching our service, we have established the leading online entertainment brand in Asia, and are seeing exceptional demand for the service throughout MENA and Africa.”
With an estimated 880 million connected mobile devices in Africa and the Middle East by 2020, the opportunity in the regions is immense, he added. “
Now available in nine markets across Southeast Asia, iflix recently launched its service in Pakistan and Vietnam, and additionally announced its Joint Venture, iflix Arabia, with Zain, to make its service available in the MENA region.