Content monetisation start-up ConsCent announced on Tuesday that it has raised Rs 13.26 crore in a bridge round led by early-stage angel investing platform Inflection Point Ventures.
Other early-stage fundraising players like Varanium Capital, RiSo Capital, SucSEED Innovation Fund, Sigurd Ventures, Startup Angels Network, AngelList and PitchRight Ventures as well as angels like Quess Corp's Vijay Sivaram, Droom's Sandeep Aggarwal, former Rivigo co-founder Gazal Kalra and Lead Angel also participated in this round. ConsCent provides monetisation diversification technology to power reader revenue funnels for news, OTT and other content platforms.
This is the start-up's second funding round after raising seed capital of Rs 4 crore in August 2020 from AngelList, WhiteBoard Capital, PitchRight Ventures and marquee angels like Paytm's Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Innov8's Ritesh Malik, Droom's Sandeep Agarwal, BharatPe's Suhail Sameer and Mamaearth's Varun Alagh.
Founded by former journalists Sunny Sen and Sounak Mitra, ConsCent started its commercial operations in April 2021, attempting to bridge the gap between access and digital payments for premium content. Since then, it has evolved into an integrated solution that provides content companies with a 360-degree insight into consumers and converts scrolling moments into revenue. Some of ConsCent's existing partners include the India Today Group (India Today, Cosmopolitan and Business Today), Outlook India Group (Outlook India and Outlook Business), MidDay, Indian Retailer, Amar Ujala, Udayavani, Amar Chitra Katha, EPIC On, Tinkle Comics and New Indian Express.
According to Mitesh Shah, co-founder, Inflection Point Ventures, content, in the form of news, is a powerful consumption tool. Increasingly, serious readers prefer moving to a subscription-led model because it is challenging and time-consuming to get meaningful content amidst the noise, he adds.
“ConsCent's pioneering pay-per-use subscription model promises to provide premium content and enables like-minded people to connect, strengthen their partnerships and monetise their service. We believe this amalgamation of content and fintech has the potential to disrupt traditional content as we know it," Shah emphasises.
Highlighting out how global trends in digital content consumption are rapidly changing, Aparajit Bhandarkar, partner, Varanium Capital, says that they are excited to join ConsCent on its growth journey. "Its solution provides data-driven personalised recommendations and monetisation using micro payments and subscriptions. ConsCent empowers publishers to manage their content lifecycle better," he says.
The financing is a validation of ConsCent's vision to create great monetisation opportunities for media and content companies and democratise premium content consumption through easy one-click payments, better recommendations and intelligent engagement, says Sunny Sen, CEO and Co-founder, ConsCent.
"We see this as a multibillion opportunity as we pioneer the concept of pay-per-use to subscription, coupled with machine learning-driven recommendations," says Sen, adding that the new funding will be used to expand the product and launch over 15 new products and features over the next 12 months in payments, engagement and retention and design.
"We will expand our technology team and are also developing an entirely new artificial intelligence/machine learning-based personalisation engine to ensure the highest level of content affinity for each content consumer," he says.
Sounak Mitra, the start-up’s founder and COO, adds that with the latest round of funding, ConsCent would achieve faster speed to market.
"ConsCent will use the funding to build futuristic tech solutions that will help media companies understand the digital consumer and engage with them in the best way possible while creating technology solutions that will allow media companies to introduce the world's first intelligent paywall-based user behaviour understanding of who will pay how much, and for what kind of content, whether it is through pay-per-use or subscriptions," Mitra says.
According to ConsCent, its partners have increased their paying user base by 10x in a year and the company has also assisted publishers in making their premium content more discoverable through recommendations, engaging with users through audience segmentation-based targeting and even retaining them through a host of marketing tools—all through one single dashboard.
The start-up also claims to have surpassed 5 lakh users who can access premium content on the platforms of ConsCent's partners without creating multiple logins and unlock premium content with a single click.