Akshay Kumar, Rana Daggubati, Collective Artists and Mahesh Bhupathi backed Social Swag raises $3.5 in Pre Series A

New age content platform Social Swag, which is a collective brainchild of Akshay Kumar, Rana Daggubati Collective Artists and Mahesh Bhupathi has announced raising $3.5 million in a Pre Series A round. The round has been led by IMEF and Unicorn India Ventures, which has made its maiden announcement in a content creator economy specialist platform.

Some other HNI’s who participated in the round are Vinay Agarwal, Ritesh Deshmukh, Raghu Subramanian, Edward Menezes, The Shekama Family Trust, and The Blume Founders fund.

Started in 2020, Social Swag is building out a Celebrity/ influencer commerce platform and has been growing 40% m-o-m for the last 5 months and is poised to continue this trajectory as the online story in India continues to generate exciting outcomes.

Parth Gandhi who launched IMEF as an entertainment fund says, “We are backing various entertainment opportunities in India and with Social Swag’s offering across multiple products we believe they will become an outlier in the space. That is why we chose them as our first investment.”

Bhaskar Majumdar, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures, says, “As a fund, we strongly believe that the content creator economy is ripe for explosive growth. We have been tracking Social Swag for close to 6 months now and are very bullish on the moat they have been able to create vis-a-vis access to talent and building technology to make it accessible. We are excited to back them in their journey.”

Social Swag has multiple verticals of its offering like Masterclasses, Live learning and personal shout outs etc. The Company runs on a subscription model giving unlimited access to the curated content on the platform. Top celebrities and achievers like Lara Dutta, Bhavish Aggarwal, Abhinav Bindra, Akshay Kumar, Vicky Ratnani, Avinash Gowarikar are some of the most reputed names whose masterclasses are currently running on the platform. Social Swag aspires to build the biggest content platform which is made in India for the world.

Rana Daggubatti, an accomplished actor, entrepreneur & Co founder, Social Swag, says, “We are excited to welcome our new investors and our focus will remain to create a platform where various people will find relevant content for themselves across different products. These would be a mix of entertainment, self development, skill enhancement and passion content.”

According to a recent industry report, there are over 1,50,000 professional content creators in India who are able to monetize their services. The global content creators’ economy is estimated to be over $100 billion. Social Swag is rightly positioned to build its market leadership as the platform is backed by some of the most accomplished content creators and artists in India.

SNK Advisors advised Social Swag on the transaction.

About Unicorn India Ventures

Unicorn India Ventures is a Mumbai-based early stage fund house started in 2015 by Anil Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar. The Fund has also launched a UK India cross border fund for funding UK  startups looking to enter India. From its first Fund, UIV has invested in 18 companies like Inc42, Sequretek, Pharmarack, Genrobotics, NeuroEquilibrium, SmartCoin, Open Bank, Open app to name a few. Unicorn India has also announced Fund II, which is a Rs 300 crore fund launch
ed in 2019 which has invested in 15 companies so far.

           About IMEF

IMEF (India Media & Entertainment Fund) is India’s first AIF focused on investing in Media, Entertainment and Technology Industry. IMEF invests in Credit, Special Situations and Equity opportunities across a wide array of Media & Entertainment businesses, including filmed entertainment, events, media, gaming and technology. IMEF is founded by Parth Gandhi and Systematix Group (a diversified financial services company).

New Research Reveals Top Three Barriers Keeping Children from Cataract Treatment in India

The eye care nonprofit Orbis International announces its collaboration on new research published in the latest issue of the top-tier peer-reviewed medical journal PLOS ONE. The research outlines the findings of in-depth interviews conducted with parents and caregivers across India that were used to determine the top barriers to accessing sight-saving cataract treatment for their children. The research also identifies the top enablers – that is, the factors that motivate families – for seeking care. An understanding of these barriers and enablers can be used to improve parents’ timely uptake of services for their children.

Ensuring children receive cataract surgery in a timely manner – ideally, no more than three months following a diagnosis – is essential for preventing long-term negative effects on their vision. However, in India, child cataract surgery is often delayed significantly. For children born with the condition, the average age of treatment is 4 years old, while children who develop cataract(s) later are, on average, 8 years of age before receiving surgery.

“More children are blind in India than in any other country, and in over half of cases, sight could be restored with early intervention and treatment,” said Dr. Rishi Raj Borah, Country Director for Orbis India and a co-author of the new study. “Cataracts are no small part of this challenge. But ensuring that we increase access to quality eye care is not enough. We must also understand what holds families back from accessing that care, work to address those barriers, and double down on the factors we know are resulting in more children getting the care they need.”

Study Findings

The study found that the top three barriers were related to:

  • Environmental context and resources, including cost, even when surgery was available free of charge, due to related expenses like travel and lost wages; local health facilities not offering screening programs to detect cataracts or surgeries to treat them; and stressors, such as lengthy travel to hospitals or wait times for appointments.
  • Beliefs about consequences, including cultural beliefs based on spirituality and old practices, such as seeking care from local healers; concern about negative outcomes post-surgery; and a lack of appreciation for the importance of preventive eye care.
  • Social influences, including cultural norms that give low priority to eye care for children; and social pressure for parents to try alternate forms of treatment, such as herbal remedies.

On the other hand, the study found that top enablers were related to:

  • Social influences: The social structure of families and extended communities had a significant impact on whether parents sought cataract surgery for their children. A particularly powerful influencer was having someone available to support the parent or caregiver by accompanying them to the hospital or looking after their other children.
  • Beliefs about consequences: Parents who realized the importance of eye care for their child were more likely to take their child for treatment. Doctor-patient communication at the hospital was also vital because of the opportunity it provided to reinforce the importance of early treatment to the parents directly.
  • Motivation, goals and intention: When the parents had clear intention to provide early treatment for their child, they accessed the services early despite having economic challenges.

The comprehensive findings from this research have enabled Orbis to understand parents’ perceived barriers and enablers to accessing childhood cataract services, which will be targeted in all future interventions in India to improve timely uptake of cataract services by children.

Orbis’s Impact in India

India was one of the first countries where Orbis established a local office, and the organization has made far-reaching impact – for children in particular – over the past two decades. When Orbis began working in India in 2000, pediatric ophthalmology was not yet seen as a distinct specialty in India, and there was only one eye care center for every 100 million children across the country. Over the years, Orbis has developed a comprehensive network of 33 Children’s Eye Centers across 17 states, with one eye care center for every 20 million children.

In total, Orbis has conducted more than 17.5 million pediatric eye screenings, provided medical and optical treatment to 1.6 million children, performed 103,000 surgeries on children, and organized 180,000 ophthalmic trainings completed by doctors, nurses, community health workers and others in India.

About Orbis

Orbis is a leading global non-governmental organization that has been a pioneer in the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness for nearly four decades. Orbis transforms lives by delivering the skills, resources and knowledge needed to deliver accessible quality eye care. Working in collaboration with local partners, including hospitals, universities, government agencies and ministries of health, Orbis provides hands-on ophthalmology training, strengthens healthcare infrastructure and advocates for the prioritization of eye health on public health agendas. Orbis operates the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital, a fully accredited ophthalmic teaching hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft, and an award-winning telemedicine platform, Cybersight. For the past ten consecutive years, Orbis has achieved Charity Navigator’s coveted four-star rating for demonstrating strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency, placing Orbis in the top 3% of U.S. charities. In 2021, Orbis earned GuideStar’s platinum Seal of Transparency. To learn more, please visit orbis.org.

MX Player’s Bhaukaal 2 receives an unprecedented response: Lead actor Mohit Raina pays tribute to officers from India’s Best Police Station – Sadar Bazaar, Red Fort and across India in a first-of-its-kind virtual initiative

MX Player’s recently launched series Bhaukaal 2, which is inspired by the life of IPS officer Navniet Sekera, has taken the nation by storm with its gripping narrative and splendid performances. It’s successful opening has not only won over audiences but in a unique initiative, MX Player has associated with the Delhi Police from the historic Sadar Bazaar Police Station, one of the oldest police stations in India that was established in Delhi in 1861 and was also assessed as the best police station in the country in 2021. Lead actor, Mohit Raina, who enacts the role of the real-life Singham – Navniet Sekera, salutes the tireless efforts of the men in khaki who have been selflessly serving the nation, especially during this global pandemic.

Bhaukaal 2’s portrayal of real-life crime incidents and the struggles and sacrifices of a police officer has made it one of the best shows in the crime-thriller genre. MX Player has recently delivered several record-breaking shows across genres like Aashram, Matsya Kaand, High, Samantar and Campus Diaries that dominate the Indian and global OTT platforms and this series has already ranked amongst the top three shows on the platform. This is a testament to the brands commitment of understanding the entertainment needs and bringing quality content to its viewers.

We rarely acknowledge the sacrifices that police officers make for us. Whether it’s working planned shifts or being called into duty for emergency responses, they do it all so humbly and place their duty above all else for the safety of others and to work towards ensuring a crime free city where its citizens feel secure. As an ode to the officers in the line of duty and as an industry first initiative, MX Player organized an engaging and interactive Virtual Meet & Greet event with Mohit Raina and 75 officers across ranks from the Sadar Bazaar Police Station in New Delhi and others who joined in from various cities across India.

Mohit Raina, who was been lauded for his role as S.S.P Naveen Sikhera, spoke about his character in the series as he enacted the efforts of the police to control the lawlessness in Muzaffarnagar in 2003. He bowled over the officers with his humble tribute that spoke about understanding the sacrifice and efforts that the officers make to keep us and the country safe. This unique and momentous event was also streamed LIVE for numerous other officers and media across nearly 20 cities in India and it was a truly memorable day for the heroes of our nation as they received the much-deserved respect and honor on behalf of the entire country.

The event was also attended by esteemed members of the Delhi Police such as Commissioner of Delhi Police – Shri Rakesh Asthana, Special Commissioner of Police Law and Order (Zone 1) – Shri Deependra Pathak, Additional Commissioner of Police (Central Range) Madam Suman Goyal, Deputy Commissioner of Police – North – Shri Sagar Singh Kalsi, Additional DCP North – Ms Anita Roy, Additional DCP South West – Mr Amit Goyal, Additional DCP (2) North – Mr Chandra Kumar, ACP Sadar Bazaar – Ms Pragya Anand and the innumerable brave hearts of Delhi Police, across ranks.

Speaking about this event that honors the IPS brave hearts, Mohit Raina said, “I am proud to be a part of one of the finest and most successful crime series on the web. I’m truly overwhelmed by the love that the audiences are showering on us. Being given an opportunity to work closely with IPS officer Navniet Sekera for this role, I realised the amount of effort that goes behind the scenes to keep us and our country safe. Through this first of a kind virtual event, we wanted to thank our officers for their selfless services and acknowledge how they work relentlessly for the nation and the sacrifices they make in the line of duty. They’re the true superheroes of the country and the entire team of Bhaukaal salutes their bravery.”

Speaking on the same, Shri Sagar Singh Kalsi – DCP North of Delhi Police said, “We feel truly honoured on receiving such respect and warmth. We’re delighted to co-host the launch at PS Sadar Bazaar, one of the oldest PS of India that was judged the Best Police Station in the country. This virtual launch is ideally located to honour our real heroes who toil on the ground. We are associating with MX Player for this event and the interaction with actor Mohit Raina who has so convincingly portrayed the role of one of our very own true soldiers has been rewarding. Shows like Bhaukaal go a long way in inspiring the youth to join the police forces while highlighting the hard work we put in along the line of duty. We stay committed to work for the welfare of the public, putting our service before ourselves always.”

Bhaukaal 2 is a 10-episodic-web-series inspired by the life of IPS officer Navniet Sekera that sees Mohit Raina as the heroic S.S.P Naveen Sikhera, who puts service before self and brings alive the story of Muzaffarnagar, UP and its saga of lawlessness in 2003. Produced by Applause Entertainment in association with Baweja Studios Production, MX Original Series Bhaukaal 2 is directed by Jatin Wagle and also stars Bidita Bag, Siddhanth Kapoor, Pradeep Nagar, Gulki Joshi, Ajay Chaudhary, Rashmi Rajput and Late Major Bikramjeet Kanwarpal in pivotal roles.

Now stream all episodes of MX Original Series Bhaukaal 2 for free, exclusively on MX Player here: https://bit.ly/Bhaukaal2

Grapes appoints Partha Sengupta as Creative Director

Grapes, an Integrated-marketing agency, has announced the appointment of Partha Sengupta as the Creative Director. He will be based out of the agency’s Delhi office and will report to Shradha Agarwal, Chief Operating Officer and Strategy Head at the company. Sengupta will be responsible for the agency’s creative output for brands. 

 

In his role, he will supervise the creative teams, assist in campaign conceptualisation, and will overlook art and creative teams, respectively. 

 

Sengupta has been instrumental in conceptualising campaigns of several brands. Prior to this, he was associated with Wunderman Thompson as a senior creative director for more than three years. 

 

In his 13 years of advertising experience, he has worked on brands like Coke, TATA, Pepsico, Reckitt Benckiser, Nestle, Aircel, Uninor, to name a few. After graduating from the National Institute Of Design, he had worked in agencies like McCann Worldgroup, Rediffusion DY&R, and J. Walter & Thompson, Havas worldwide. He does earn his bread from advertising, but creating newness has always been the butter to his creative half.

 

Speaking on the appointment, Shradha Agarwal, COO and Strategy Head, Grapes, said, “We are pleased to welcome Partha to the team. He comes with years of creative experience in the advertising fraternity and is a great asset to us as he holds impeccable expertise in conceptualising and executing creative ideas for brands. I am confident that he will continue to be an amazing leader, he brings not just the experience but the kind of enthusiasm and passion he entails has inspired us. I am sure he will deliver astonishing work, and I could see an exciting time for the agency.”

 

Partha Sengupta, Creative Director, Grapes, said, “I am extremely excited and ready for the new and exhilarating journey at Grapes. Advertising gives me the scope to solve problems for brands through design, art, and creative strategy. I look forward to working with the teams and assisting them to deliver creative solutions for our clients.” 

AcneStar Face Wash collaborates with Instagram Influencers to engage with their audiences

AcneStar face wash from the house of Mankind Pharma, collaborates with content creators and influencers to leverage fun and quirky content via Instagram Reels, thereby targeting the millennials with their new GenZ strategy.

Considering that video has taken over the social media platforms to ramp up online consumption by creating social experiences, even India has emerged as the video-first market. Here, Instagram riding on the favorable wave of videos have seized the opportunity to deliver unparalleled entertainment and expanded its features by incorporating Reels that have been spreading like a wildfire. Hence, a trend of short form video has emerged that is not just growing Instagram and Facebook but is giving the desired push to other apps as well. With the growing popularity and recent trends on reels, AcneStar face wash came up with a strategy around Influencer Marketing to build brand visibility and awareness amongst its target audiences.

Through this, AcneStar has leveraged one of the most popular reel formats on Instagram, the transitional videos. Joining the current trend, the brand collaborated with Vaishnavi NaikPrachi KadamZoya Jaan and Ashna Zaveri. There is a mix of influencers, who are well known for their lips sync, transition and dancing videos.

Talking about the campaign, Mr. Joy Chatterjee, General Manager, Sales & Marketing, Mankind Pharma, “Over the years, we have seen the changing pattern in the content consumption, earlier people used to rely on text based content but things have changed and people have started consuming more video content to visualize the overall concept and understand in a better manner. Instagram Reels has become one of the most used content platforms by the audience as per the reports and the responses we have seen personally as well. We at Mankind Pharma have always prioritized our consumer requirements, so we came up with this campaign to engage with the audience. Our audience wants information but in a quirky and fun way and I feel Instagram Reels is one of the best platforms to create fun loving content.’

 

AcneStar is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial face wash with the goodness of aloe vera, salicylic acid, glycolic acid that fights with the biggest enemy of skin that is acne and pimples and gives beautiful clear skin, free from acne. AcneStar Soap and Gel are also designed especially to fight against acne, pimples, whiteheads and blackheads. Its effective formula that attacks the acne-causing bacteria to give you a healthy, radiant and acne-free skin. AcneStar is easily available at a pharmacy near you at an affordable price.

Prachi Kadam

https://www.instagram.com/p/CXlutp1A3wV/

Vaishnavi Naik

https://www.instagram.com/p/CXtVjVxpDRs/

Ashna Zaveri

https://www.instagram.com/p/CX_IzqAhc6T/

Zoya Jaan

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYB8eobA5mH/

Year Ender Quotes | Women Entrepreneurs

Malini Agarwal- Founder & Creative Director MissMalini Entertainment & Girl Tribe

From the onset of the pandemic there has been a spotlight on influencer marketing as a crucial part of the marketing mix. The rapid growth of the creator ecosystem over the last few years collided at light speed with the overnight realisation of marketers everywhere that most of their traditional mediums were obsolete in the Covid world. The result was not just a “trend” towards influencer marketing, but more of a paradigm shift. Digital content & influencer strategy is now top of mind from the very beginning of the media planning phase for most brands and agencies. All this has happened at the same time when the platform and social media ecosystem has seen seismic shifts as well. With the exit of Byte Dance from India multiple India homegrown video sharing and social commerce platforms have seen tremendous growth, and some global platforms have also seen exponential growth like Snapchat which recently surpassed 100 million users in India. Meanwhile Facebook/Instagram and Google/YouTube continue to capture a super majority of all digital ad spends and remain the most popular platforms for content/influencer marketing campaigns. The surge in demand from brands, and the increasingly complicated platform landscape has left the creator/influencer ecosystem in need of two things – support and organisation. The community needs support to navigate all the format and platform choices, to collaborate with other creators more regularly, and to create content – especially video content – more efficiently. The community needs organisation to maximise their earnings and to amplify their content at scale…in other words, to take control of their own monetisation and career growth! This is what MissMalini, and our partners, will be spending our time on in 2022 and beyond, and we can’t wait to show the community what we have in store!

 

Aditi Handa, Head Baker and Co-Founder, The Baker’s Dozen

2020-2021 has been a year of customer centricity. As we have been consistently standing strong by our customers and understanding their needs at length, we have been rewarded generously in terms of sales, growth and visibility. Especially, post our millionth sourdough sell-out moment and successful launch of The Dose We Knead campaign, we witnessed a swelling demand for our products with 250 % growth this year, followed by the launch of 2 brand stores in the span of 2 months and 15 + micro fulfillment centers (delivery only outlets) Pan India. 

 

We are expecting a similar growth and self development pattern in 2022. Starting internally, we are planning to formulate new products such as cake premixes and more, that makes at-home baking an easy effort for future chefs and bakers and also complementary categories like Dips, Juices etc. Secondly, driving automation in more & more processes to increase efficiency at the production level is in pipeline too, as our production capacity has already increased from 60 tonnes a month to 150 tonnes a month in the last 2 months  Further, with handmade products making it to mainstream, our new year goals includes leveraging our customer driven marketing pattern through sampling availability at all our stores, especially for our Sourdough range. With the launch of our recent stores, we have come to a realization that sampling stations at the stores really helps customers in making the final purchase call, and also treats them with an experiential / personalized service format by the brand through the respective store teams.

 

Ms. Geeta Ramakrishnan, Ontological Coach and Author 

The last two years have been a harbinger of perpetual and significant changes. Funnily, change is not constant – the faster we adapt to change, the better – like adjusting to the WFH situation. Now that we are used to working in e-office structures, interacting with colleagues in physical office spaces – especially with those we have met only via zoom calls – may also take some time adjusting. Change is never comfortable or easy and hence mental well-being was one of the most significant rising issues during the pandemic, people are now grasping the benefits of having a mentor or a coach.

 

Here is an analogy – when children are weak in maths or if they desire to learn and be competitive in tennis or piano, their parents will seek the best tutor or coaching school. Furthermore, those suffering from a headache, cold or a stomach bug will visit a doctor and take care of their physical health. Along these same lines, the concept of a coach or a mentor is equally important – not only if there is an issue, but for general mental wellness. This coming New Year, I would like to see widespread awareness about mental wellness and more people naturally taking on coaches as a mentor or a reflector who holds a mirror to them and enables them to enhance their life journey.

 

Disha Singh, Founder and CEO, Zouk

2021 was an inspirational year. India rode the CoVid wave and broke all records in terms of vaccinations. That had a very positive impact for us at Zouk, where consumers restarted their travel and hence needed new bags and wallets. This trend will further ramp up demand for our products in 2022. The year also saw a big shift towards supporting local businesses. The Vocal for Local push really nudged consumers to support a Proudly Indian brand like ours. Lastly, we saw some phenomenal IPOs of companies run by women leaders such as Nykaa, Bector Foods which is inspirational for women entrepreneurs like me to build a large business and receive public market support. I expect even more such listings in 2022 and support for women-led Indian businesses by consumers globally. Personally, we aim to expand our collection and take our Proudly Indian story to the world.

 

Khushi Govil – Associate Vice President, Talent – MissMalini Entertainment 

The first quarter of 2021 was slightly slower due to the second wave of COVID-19 – nobody wanted to sound unethical, and we, too, were very sensitive about it because that wasn’t the right time to market anything. However, things picked up in the second quarter of the year and now, everything is more or less opening up, looking hopeful once again. Brands have started to allot their commercials into diverse streams now, which is amazing. I expect 2022 to be a game-changer since 2021 has set the stage for countless new opportunities. This year, we had influencers and talent coming up with their own products, NFTs taking over the world by a storm and much more – the scenario is changing completely, which is why I am very excited for 2022! Apart from that, I am also eager about the upcoming trends. For instance, till today, the digital world was a 2D idea, but now, it is on its way to transform into an immersive 3D experience. Additionally, the creator economy is also heading towards bigger and greater things like investment and so much more. 2022 will be a groundbreaking year for everyone with all that it has in store, and I am super excited to witness it all!