New Delhi-based travel and entertainment startup, PressPlay has raised $2.2 million funding from Sequoia Capital and a group of eight angel investors including Jason Hirschhorn, Jarett Posner, and Amit Bhatiani. The raised funding will go towards upgrading its technology, geographical expansion as well as in adding other services which will give users access to Whatsapp and Facebook. In August 2014, the firm had raised $500,000 in angel funding from a group of unnamed investors.
Most people in India take buses for long distance travel, and it can get tedious. Most of these buses have a beaten up TV set blaring out raunchy movie songs not to everyone’s taste.Two sales professionals of restaurant discovery site Zomato suffered the pain of this quite frequently because they were often on the road. One day they decided to do something about it.
Anand Sinha and George Abraham started handing out tablet computers to fellow passengers, loaded with a wide selection of music, movies, shows, and games, for a small fee.
This grew into a full-fledged business idea, and they quit their jobs with Zomato to startPress Play. Now, this travel entertainment startup has raised US$2.2 million in pre-series A funding from Sequoia Capital and a group of eight angel investors. The startup had earlier raised US$500,000 from angel investors.
At the outset, PressPlay placed tablets in buses, locked on the backs of seats. But it has recently pivoted to an app-based model, as increasing numbers of bus travelers in India have smartphones. Travelers can now get connected to wi-fi in the bus which allows them to access Press Play’s app called “Touchplay” on their smartphones. The app is loaded with a range of 30 movies, 1,000 songs, and 10 documentaries and cartoons.
The fresh funding will be used to upgrade its technology. Press Play will add other services, which will give users access to Whatsapp and Facebook.
Launched in December 2013 by former Zomato executives, PressPlay claims to have 50,000 users a month and aiming to double it in two months. To start with, the ex-Zomato sales professionals Anand Sinha and George Abraham, launched a pilot project in April 2014 by travelling to Amritsar in a bus with 10-tablets preloaded with five movies each. They pitched for Rs 100 and managed to rent them out to fellow bus travelers. Later, the company launched Wi-Fi services across select public buses in India where the users can enjoy the music, videos, videos, games on their own Wi-Fi connected devices
To provide its services, the startup has tied up with eight state transport operators, including Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh, besides 50 private operators. Currently, it is available in about 600 buses across 14 cities and hope to be in atleast 10 more cities in the coming six months and get the 10,000 customers using the application everyday.