~ Investors Included Co-Founders of Twitch, Rotten Tomatoes, Crunchyroll, Kabam, 9GAG, Junglee Games and more ~
Bangalore, India — March 16, 2022 – TOONSUTRA, the India-focused mobile webtoon startup which has been incubating in stealth mode, announced it closed an oversubscribed pre-seed round for US$1.1 million. The new startup was incubated at leading character entertainment company, Graphic India and was founded by media entrepreneur, Sharad Devarajan.
TOONSUTRA is building India’s first ‘Webtoons meets Web3’ platform with a mission to become India’s new storytelling home for disruptive creators across the country to experiment, innovate and create engaging webtoon comic stories and digital collectables for the India’s 650 million+ mobile youth market.
The funds came from an acclaimed group of global investors and entrepreneurs including, Patrick Lee, Co-Founder, Rotten Tomatoes; Kevin Lin, Co-Founder, Twitch; Kun Gao, Co-Founder, Crunchyroll; Jeremy Liew, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners; Holly Lui, Co-Founder, Kabam; Ray Chan, Co-Founder, 9GAG; Rishad Tobaccowala, Fmr. Chief Growth Officer, Publicis Group; Michael Maher, Founder, Start Media; Vishal Anand, Fmr. Chief Product Officer, Dailyhunt; Benjamin Grubbs, Co-Founder, CreatorPlus; George Nolfi, filmmaker; Sandeep Kumar Sood, Co-Founder, Junglee Games; and others.
In addition to some of the biggest comic book libraries from around the world, the platform will showcase and promote emerging rising star creators across India and give them a home to tell their stories. The TOONSUTRA app will feature a wide range of content for audiences across superhero, fantasy, romance, sci-fi, Bollywood, mythology, action, and more.
“TOONSUTRA will become India’s new storytelling home for disruptive creators across the country to experiment, innovate and create powerful new webtoon comic stories and web3 collectibles and experiences,” Toonsutra, Founder, Sharad Devarajan commented. “Webtoon platforms have become an explosive phenomenon across Asia with top webtoon apps cumulatively reaching over 70 million monthly users and over a 100 billion views a year. For the first time we want to make a webtoon app dedicated for Indians to spark a mobile comic and Web3 collectible revolution.”
The new startup was incubated at Graphic India, the country’s highest quality comic book producer and the creators of hit animated shows like Baahubali: The Lost Legends; Chakra The Invincible; and The Legend of Hanuman. Graphic India’s short form video formatted Audio Comics and Motion Comics have already broken over 200 million cumulative views across third party platforms in India, proving the growing demand for digital comics in the market.
Devarajan brings decades of character entertainment experience to the startup and is also an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, where he has been teaching on AI, AR, VR and the Metaverse for over seven years, making him an early business school professor focused on the metaverse and its potential to disrupt media and society. Graphic India is also the first creator to launch NFT’s based on Indian characters.
In December of last year through Graphic India, he partnered with leading NFT entertainment company, Orange Comet, to launch the “Chakraverse” collection, based on the Indian superhero, Chakra The Invincible. The collection was launched with GaurdianLink on Beyondlife.club and resulted in the most successful, US-India NFT sale in history, selling out of over 12,000 digital collectibles with each drop sold in less than 1-minute after being available. People from 14 countries participated in the auction, with 22% of the audience residing in India – showing the potential for digital character entertainment collectibles in India.
Graphic India’s vast library of high-quality comics will be available on TOONSUTRA. In addition to Indian content, the TOONSUTRA app will feature some of the biggest international comics from around the world available in vernacular Indian languages for the first time. In addition, exclusive digital collectibles based on Indian and global properties will be available exclusively offered.
People can find out more information and sign up for the launch at Toonsutra.com
The app is expected to launch widely in India in Q2 of this year.