Roar Media, the Sri Lanka-based new-media platform that publishes content across South Asia, recently announced a $1 million raise in funding. The round was led by BOV Capital and the Digital Innovation Fund (DIF), who also invested in Roar’s previous round of funding. BOV and DIF are joined by Hyperion Ventures, Striders Corporation, and two angel investors based in Bangladesh and Singapore.
The funding follows in the steps of the company raising its first growth round in October 2017, which saw it through significant expansion.
Roar Media has seen considerable success covering current affairs, business, lifestyle, technology, arts, and culture, across South Asia. With a physical presence in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India, Roar publishes content in five languages across eight different sites. Since its founding in 2014, Roar Media has seen engagement grow to 4M+ sessions and over 30M+ video views a month. Publishing reliable, credible content in the vernacular has fuelled much of this growth.
The new raise will focus on consolidating existing presences in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and bolster sales and operational teams to increase revenue and reach. Roar Media is also scaling up internal technology teams in order to seamlessly automate the content creation process and also build up their own distribution platforms, thus having to rely less on third party social media sites for distribution.
Besides existing operations and revenue models, the funding will serve to break digital ground in the region in terms of how content can be monetised. Along with the current branded campaign model, Roar Media will strengthen its existing Content-As-A-Service model and further bolster its capacity as a one-stop digital marketing solutions provider to businesses. In addition, the company will monetise its extensive content creation expertise by launching a premium content service on its platforms, allowing access through subscriptions or through a pay-per-view model.
“Roar is changing the way digital media functions in Sri Lanka and the subcontinent,” said Roar Media Founder and CEO Mustafa Kassim. “We don’t chase clicks, instead, we focus on creating content that is credible and engaging. The approach is working well for us, so we applied it across languages with remarkable success. There is a tremendous market for good quality content in the vernacular, and we are breaking new ground by significantly leveraging technology to scale our content creation efforts and to push high impact distribution. We also hope to offer subscription models for premium content in a way that no one else has done. South Asia is an exciting place for new media organisations and we aim to take full advantage of it, which is why we are so delighted to have a diverse pool of investors coming on board with us, who, with their collective expertise, will help us enter these new markets.”
Striders Corporation had this to say about their involvement: “With the development of digital infrastructure, supported by fast-growing economies, expanding middle class and young population in the South and South-eastern region, we believe that the emergence of a digital economy is inevitable. The diversified young talent pool and experienced strategic investors of Roar’s team, made it more attractive for us, to be a part of Roar’s growth story. We have also identified business synergies between Roar and our Indonesian advertising agency (PT Citra Surya Komunikasi), which may create opportunities for joint projects in future. This also marks expansion of Striders’ footprint from Sri Lanka to Indian and Bangladeshi markets. Due to these strategic reasons, Striders decided to be a part of Roar’s journey to grow its presence from South to South-east Asian region.”