Bharti SoftBank, a joint venture between business group Bharti Enterprises and SoftBank Corp., announced today that it has acquired a 36.5 percent stake in ScoopWhoop, an Indian-focused media startup. Though financial terms were undisclosed, the deal is interesting because it’s the latest in a series of investments by SoftBank in Indian startups. The Japanese telecom giant recently said that it intends to invest about $10 billion in India over the next few years.
SoftBank also recently ramped up its focus on entertainment when it invested $250 million in California-based Legendary Entertainment. Its investment in ScoopWhoop gives SoftBank a chance to add yet another entertainment company to its portfolio, albeit one that has a different model than Legendary Entertainment ScoopWhoop collects entertainment content that is meant to be shared over social media networks, a similar model to Buzzfeed and Upworthy. ScoopWhoop currently claims 20 million monthly page views and over 8 million unique visitors per month across its website and mobile app. About a half of its page views are accessed via smartphones.
Last week, SoftBank announced that it led a $210 million investment in Ola, an Uber-style service based in Mumbai. At the same time, SoftBank participated in a $627 million round in Snapdeal, an e-commerce business. Other investments in India include mobile ad startup InMobi and Bharti.
SoftBank has enjoyed previous success from investing in companies located in fast-growing markets—its war chest is funded in part by returns from the $20 million stake Son invested in Alibaba back in 2000, which is now estimated to be worth around $75 billion.
Other emerging Asian startup ecosystems SoftBank currently has a stake in include Indonesia, where it recently invested (along with Sequoia) in marketplace Tokopedia and Korea, where it recently purchased streaming video startup DramaFever.
In a statement, Madhu Nori, CEO of Bharti SoftBank, said “About a half of India’s population are under 25 years old and the use of social networks with smartphones is growing rapidly among this segment. As a result, Media consumption patterns are rapidly evolving and this space is ready for disruption. The team at ScoopWhoop have demonstrated significant growth by leveraging their strength in understanding and creating locally relevant content for India’s young audience. We believe the partnership offers immense synergies for both parties to create great content experience for India’s mobile internet population.”