Josh Talks, one of India's largest regional content and upskilling platforms, announced that it has raised $3.5 million in a round led by Ankur Capital.
Other marquee investors such as Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Paytm), Vaibhav Domkundwar (Better Capital), Vineeta Singh (SUGAR Cosmetics), Ritesh Agarwal (OYO), and Ankur Warikoo (ex Nearbuy), have also participated in the fundraise.
With the funds, the Gurugram-based company plans to refine its product with the larger goal of making Josh Skills the preferred social learning platform for Bharat. It is also looking to experiment with new product lines catering to the growing aspirations of the Tier 2 and Tier 3 users in India.
Co-founded by Supriya Paul and Shobhit Bangra in 2015, Josh Talks uses its platform to create content in the form of short talks and videos covering a range of stories from sectors including entrepreneurship, sports, arts, and activism. The company leverages the power of storytelling to build solutions for the next generation of internet users while enabling them to unlock their potential.
Josh Talks' mission is to address issues faced by the youth concerning jobs, career opportunities and acquiring skill sets. It aims to bridge the digital and socio-economic gap by giving rural youth access to relatable role models and an EdTech platform equipping them with necessary skills.
Speaking about the fundraise, Co-founder and CEO of Josh Talks, Supriya Paul, said:
"Over the last two years, we have doubled down on two things - growing our distribution across 10 languages and creating a product that monetises this distribution network. We have been able to understand the aspirations of young India and have built one of the largest online communities, which is in turn directed towards our app, Josh Skills with 0 CAC. With the new capital, our goal is to expand our offerings, strengthen our executive team and take Josh to every household in India."
Josh Talks has an average of 85 million monthly views across platforms and has forayed into interactive educational courses by launching the Josh Skills app which has over 200,000 paid subscribers from Tier II and III cities of India. The platform also focuses on upskilling individuals in areas such as spoken English, personality development, personal finance management, and more. So far, the spoken English course is live on the app, while other topics and courses are being developed with a focus on leveraging the distribution and the user funnel of Josh Talks.
Talking about its expansion plans, Paul said:
"A part of the capital would be deployed to identify more educational categories that are relevant to the users. We will be going deeper into every district and dialect of India, starting with the launch of new channels in a cluster of districts in Bihar and Josh Bhojpuri next quarter."
After transitioning from media to content to EdTech, Josh Skills has fine-tuned its approach by adding gamification and interactivity to its English learning course and is now looking to venture into adjacent courses. Unlike other platforms, it currently only offers a one-day free trial to learners.
Co-founder and Managing Partner of Ankur Capital, Rema Subramanian, added:
"The Josh team has always created solutions through first-principles reasoning. Whether it was with Josh Talks where they built it, language by language, focusing on the aspirations of the user segment, or now with Josh Skills, where the focus is on emulating an offline college experience. Their obsession with their users and solving their problems is what inspired us to back them."
Last year, the company launched new content categories like Josh Money (focused on financial literacy for tier-II & -III users), Josh Maati (highlights stories of agriculture and innovation from the villages of India) and Josh Aasha (covering all topics relevant to women).
According to Paul, Josh Talks is aiming to clock a revenue of $4 million this financial year. Last financial year, the company earned a revenue of $1.5 million. It is also targeting to reach 35 million subscribers/followers and increase its monthly viewership to 195 million across all channels by March 2023,
In 2020, Josh Talks had raised $1.5 million in its pre-Series A funding round led by Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a New York-based institution. The round also saw participation from angel investors.Next