ZEEL invests INR 5,220mn in tech startup SugarBox

inpost-image-ZEEL-invests-INR5220mn-in-Tech-Startup-SugarBox-MediaBriefThe Board of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL), at its meeting held on 8th April 2020, has agreed to invest a sum of Rs. 5,220 mn in Margo Networks Private Ltd  (SugarBox). SugarBox is a first-of-its-kind platform in the world that enables internet services to work even in areas of bad or no network and empowers users to access them without an active data connection. It creates a hyperlocal data distribution ecosystem by installing CDN Edge servers at key places of interest (POIs), which users can connect to over a local Wi-Fi network. SugarBox POIs include public transport, public places, rural areas, hotels and co-living spaces, malls, etc. where a critical mass of users access a host of digital services.

Using the SugarBox platform, a user will be able to stream and download videos, listen to music, play games, learn on-the-go, shop online, pay bills, order food & groceries, book onward transport and access other digital services, all without dependence on cellular data or even the need of an internet connection.

The SugarBox platform is expected to reach 25 mn users daily and 300 mn monthly unique users by mid-2022, unlocking an aggregate of 2.5 bn hours of monthly consumption in a near-captive  environment,  where  access  to  internet  services  is  otherwise  limited  due  to uneven connectivity

In the year 2017, ZEEL had acquired 80% equity stake in SugarBox. This investment will be made by ZEEL to exploit strong synergies of the technology developed by SugarBox with the current businesses of the Company and with a potential to significantly augment the digital content consumption. With this investment, ZEEL will be able to enhance its growth in the digital ecosystem, expanding its presence beyond OTT and AdTech.

image-Punit-Goenka-MD&CEO-ZEEL-MediaBriefPunit Goenka, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, ZEEL, said, “Our investment in SugarBox, gives a strong fillip to the overall digital business, sharpening its approach by many folds. The unique technology will enable us to serve content to consumers across the Nation, without being restricted by connectivity constraints. We are confident that this synergy will create a strong foundation for us, as we progress towards offering relevant content to consumers across platforms.”

image-Rohit-Paranjpe-ceo-SUGARBOXRohit Paranjpe, co-founder & CEO of SugarBox, added, “We are extremely excited about this development. ZEE has been a pioneer in the field of entertainment in India, and with their strong strategic focus on the digital space, our synergies matched perfectly. With this investment, SugarBox will commence commercial operations across exclusive long-term contracts like L&T Metro, Chennai Metro, NMMT, Kolkata Metro and Indian Railways, and forge new partnerships to scale up its network.

“SugarBox is at the forefront of revolutionizing availability, affordability and reliability of digital services for the next billion users globally – something that even Big Tech has struggled to achieve sustainably. This investment will provide a giant leap towards us achieving that goal,” Parajnpe said.

The SugarBox platform is expected to reach 25 mn users daily and 300 mn monthly unique users by mid-2022, unlocking an aggregate of 2.5 bn hours of monthly consumption in a near-captive  environment,  where  access  to  internet  services  is  otherwise  limited  due  to uneven connectivity.

MediaBrief view

This is an excellent investment because it will propel the ZEE Group to strong growth in the digital space beyond AdTech and OTT.

SugarBox is a new medium of solid consumer connect for brands, and the beauty is, its customers will be in engaging and literally ‘captive’ environments. And SugarBox’s wins with Chennai Metro, Hyderabad Metro and Indian Railways are a solid proof of delivery, and definitely the reason ZEEL has gone ahead and empowered it with infusion of funds that we believe will likely be used primarily to implement the ask of the RailTel ask. It’s a massive win, and should help SugarBox deliver tremendous value to every marketer and brand once its presence starts helping brands really travel through RailTel all over India.

Sugarbox couldn’t have asked for a better mentor and guide than ZEE’s smart and integrated empowerment.

Your thoughts, please