Media Development Investment Fund leads $ 1.5 mn seed funding in Josh Talks

Media Development Investment Fund leads $ 1.5 mn seed funding in Josh Talks
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27 Feb, 2020

Social technology startup Josh Talks has raised $ 1.5 million (around Rs 10.7 crore at current exchange rates ) in a seed funding round from New York-based not-for-profit investment fund Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF).

The Gurugram headquartered company plans to deploy the funds to enhance its vernacular play, build skills vertical, and expand to other developing nations, it said in a statement.

The company claimed its valuation crossed Rs 100 crore mark with this round.

“Being a mission-first organisation, we are building products and services that leverage the power of the internet to solve real problems faced by low-income households in India. We are addressing issues faced by the youth with respect to jobs, career opportunities, acquiring skill sets and more,” founders said in a joint statement.

Founded in 2014 by Supriya Paul and Shobhit Banga, Josh Talks is an event platform for inspirational stories.

Paul was part of the advisory panel of the Women Economic Forum, an arm of the global network ALL Ladies League (ALL) and served as a mentor at business incubator company The Founder Institute. Banga has previously served as a core team member at Sport365, a live sports addon that pulls streams from a well known IPTV website. 

Since its inception, the company has expanded its offerings by adding two new platforms. Career-guidance platforms Josh Kosh and Josh Skills equip low-income students and job seekers in India with the training and tools they need to get a job.

Currently, Josh Talks’ content is available in eight languages and is viewed by over 45 million people every month, the company claims.

The chief investment officer at MDIF, Key Kiarie, will be joining the board of the organisation as part of this round, the statement added.

“We see an exciting intersection between our mission to support companies that support the flow of reliable, quality information between people in challenging environments and Josh Talks’ belief in content, community, and empowerment,” said Key.  

Josh Talks competes with companies like TED and Dailymotion among others in this segment.

Prior to this round, Josh Talks had raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding in 2017 from angel investors including Girish Mathrubootham, founder of Freshdesk; Apurva Chamaria, global brand director at IT services firm HCL; Rohit Chanana, head of strategy and finance at scooter manufacturer Hero Corporation; Pankaj Kankar, chief technology officer at Lenskart Solutions;  and Sunny Nagpal and Amit Gupta, founders of Httpool Digital.

Founded in 1995, MDIF, formerly Media Development Loan Fund, provides financing and business assistance to independent news outlets. It claims to have provided over $225 million in affordable financing to 117 independent news and information businesses across 41 countries.