Live streaming platform M17 raises $26.5m in Series D round led by Vertex Growth

Photo: M17 Entertainment

Live streaming platform M17 Entertainment has landed $26.5 million in a Series D funding round led by the Temasek-backed Vertex Growth Fund, the company said in a press release Monday.

Other investors participating in the round included Stonebridge Korea Unicorn Venture Fund, InnoVen Capital, Kaga Electronics and ASE Global Group, M17 said.

“With consumer preferences shifting to individualized on-demand viewing online, M17 is capitalizing on the need for a robust, financially viable platform for artists,” the company said in a statement.

“The company will focus on deepening its presence in Japan and the rest of developed Asia, while planning expansion into the United States and new markets such as the Middle East, with the aim of securing substantial new users and artists,” it added.

A Vertex representative told DealStreetAsia M17’s latest funding round was both larger than the last and at a higher valuation.

“This reflects the progress and value M17 has created since, and the expectation of its continued growth and market domination,” the representative told DealStreetAsia in an email.

In 2018, M17 had raised $25 million in a funding round led by Terry Tsang, CEO of Hong Kong’s mobile game developer Madhead. Temasek Holdings-linked Pavilion Capital, Stonebridge Ventures and existing investors of M17 Entertainment had also participated in that round.

The company also raised a $40 million Series A round led by Infinity Venture Partners in 2017. Other investors in its Series A round had included Vertex Asia Fund, Yahoo Japan, Majuven, Golden Summit Capital and KTB Ventures.

Amid the global pandemic, with many countries on lockdown, M17 has seen an increase in artist and user onboarding, and higher user interaction, the statement said.

Fortune Sohn, managing director at Stonebridge Ventures, said in the statement that M17 was already the largest pure-play live streaming company in Japan, and it was posting an “astonishing rate of growth.”

M17 said it has the largest live streaming platform in developed Asia, with a more than 60 per cent market share by revenue in Japan and Taiwan.

Consultancy Frost & Sullivan forecast in a 2019 report that the live streaming market would grow to $22.09 billion by 2022 globally, from $8.25 billion in 2018.

M17’s estimated annual revenue is $180 million, according to data from Owler.

The company was formed in April 2017 after the merger of Singapore-based Paktor Group and Taiwan-based 17 Media, a regional live streaming company. The company’s main dating applications are Paktor and Goodnight.

M17 had planned to list its Paktor dating and networking app on the New York Stock Exchange in a $115 million IPO in 2018, but it withdrew the application after the IPO roadshow only raised $60.1 million.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on May 12 to include a comment from Vertex. 

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.