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BW Businessworld

The World In Your Pocket: Ashwin Suresh, Co-founder, Pocket Aces

We have truly redefined how short-form content can be created, distributed and monetised.

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US-educated Ashwin Suresh, Anirudh Pandita and Aditi Srivastava have never been a part of the Indian entertainment industry and neither were they born in India. Yet they have been at the forefront of the digital entertainment revolution right from its very inception. 

Co-founded by the trio in 2015, Pocket Aces, a Sequoia Capital-backed company leverages technology to create and distribute engaging content for the Indian millennials thus disrupting the television and film industry through the digital ecosystem. 

The Mumbai-based digital entertainment firm has shaped the grammar for an entirely new genre of entertainment (mobile entertainment) with a short video in India, something that did not exist before. And this was enough for Suresh to be included in this year’s BW Businessworld 40 Under 40 list of successful entrepreneurs.

“Our vision is to build a data-driven content platform that helps solve boredom for 500 million+ young Indians by providing them with entertainment in multiple formats and different regional languages,” says Suresh. 

Besides, Pocket Aces is creating a viable and sustainable career path for people in the creative profession by democratising content creation and providing a platform for young creators to tell their stories to large audiences. 

The company, which operates three socially distributed content brands including Filter Copy (short videos), Dice Media (multi-episode web series), and Gobble (food videos) as well as a direct-to-consumer platform Loco (live and interactive game show app), has now become now India’s fastest growing digital entertainment company. Pocket Aces’ socially distributed video network has garnered more than 2 billion video views in the last 36 months, with a current monthly run rate of more than 350 million video views. 

“We have truly redefined how short-form content can be created, distributed, and monetized on social and video platforms. With our transformational multi-show deal with Netflix, we have set new benchmarks for long-form content among new-age content creators in India. Today, we are the most widely consumed digital media company with over 700 million monthly video views and we’re the only digital media company to have shows with the likes of Netflix and Amazon,” says Suresh. 

The scorching pace of Pocket Aces’s growth has led to a 25 folds increase in its valuation between the first round and third round of investment. “We have multiplied our revenue by 8 folds and 4 folds respectively during the past two years,” says Suresh. 

Pocket Aces has worked extensively with large advertisers including PepsiCo, Flipkart, Landmark Group, Marico, Kingfisher, Kotak Mahindra Bank, etc. The company’s content has also been syndicated to various OTT platforms such as Ola Play and Reliance Jio, airlines such as Emirates, Jet and Cathay Pacific, cable partners such as Tata Sky, and international platforms such as China’s Youku Tudou and Bytedance. 

“By diversifying our sources of revenue, we have ensured that we are not dependent on anyone market or client,” adds Suresh. 

Major investors in Pocket Aces include Sequoia Capital, North Base Media, 3one4 Capital and the cofounders of India’s largest IT services firm, Infosys. In July 2019, the company announced a Rs 100 crore investment from Sequoia India, DSP Group and 3one4 Capital, besides other prominent investors.  During FY 2018-19, it has earned Rs 33 crore and is aiming to earn Rs 65 crore during this fiscal. 

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