Celebrity engagement and wishing platform WYSH on Tuesday said it has raised $2 million as part of its Series A round led by Kalaari Capital. Existing investors Whiteboard Capital, Touchstone Equities, AngelList, and new investors AET fund, IIMK, and GEMBA Capital also participated in the round.
With the infusion of new funds, WYSH said it is looking to focus on marketing and celebrity acquisition for the platform.
Launched in December 2019 by Mahesh Gogineni, Varun MS, and Manan Maheshwari, the Hyderabad-based startup provides celebrities with a way to engage with their fans while allowing them to connect with their favourite stars.
Being a two-way engagement and video request platform, WYSH enables fans to get personalised video messages from their favourite celebrities. Through WYSH, users can also gift their loved ones or friends a video directly from their favourite stars.
Speaking about the platform, Mahesh Gogineni, CEO of WYSH, said,
“In India, we love our celebrities and our desire to connect with them and make them part of our lives is unparalleled compared to any other part of the world. As a two-sided platform, it enables fans to make their dreams come true and helps celebs to connect with their fans in a way that wasn’t possible before. Hence, we believe we can scale up WYSH in India quickly and the current fundraise will help us do that.”
Mahesh also added that over the coming months, the platform will be expanding its celebrity base across different categories including TV, movies, sports, singers, etc., and also across different regions of India.
Commenting on their investment in WYSH, Darshit Vora, Principal at Kalaari Capital, said,
"In the age of social media, celebrities want to open a two-way channel with fans and add on to their following. This is why you see celebrities do Instagram Lives and be active on social media. However, apart from brand endorsements and influencer marketing across social media channels, they really don’t have any other platforms. Hence, we believe WYSH is the right product and team to build something valuable to everyone."
Until now, WYSH claims to have 50 plus celebrities from both North and South India who have signed up on the app. By the end of this year, the company aims to on-board more than 1,000 celebrities on the platform.
The co-founders, who are alumni of Stanford GSB, Duke Fuqua, and BITS-Pilani, sold their previous on-demand beauty startup Zapluk to Quikr in 2016.
(Disclaimer: Kalaari Capital is an investor in YourStory.)
(Edited by Megha Reddy)