Taiwan-based global live broadcasting platform Next Entertainment has raised US$25 million in its Series A financing round for its newly launched flagship app, MeMe.
The capital is intended for global expansion as Next Entertainment aims to export and mirror the success of its predecessor Inke beyond China. This will also include hiring talents in San Francisco, Tokyo, Taipei and Beijing.
Founded by Internet entrepreneur and FunPLus founder Andy Zhong, Next Entertainment was incubated by Inke, the Chinese mobile live streaming giant which is also the round’s lead investor.
Other Series A participants also include game developer FunPlus, leading Chinese venture capital company GSR Ventures, San Francisco-based investment company Mayfield, as well as Signia Venture Partners.
“As an investor in Inke, we saw its incredible growth in China. Their partnership with a proven east-west entrepreneur like Andy is very exciting, and we’re thrilled to be able to work with them both again,” GSR’s managing director, Richard Lim said.
As part of the funding agreement, Next Entertainment plans to leverage Inke’s experience in the live streaming market to deliver more tailor-made and interactive services to global users.
“There’s a revolution happening in the entertainment industry, and we’re happy that our partners at Inke and our Series A investors are part of it.” the Founder and CEO of Next Entertainment, Andy Zhong said.
“We’re excited about live streaming as a form,” Andy Zhong adds. “By building ways for content creators to engage and interact with their fans in real time and to earn money doing it, Inke has changed people’s lives. We’re going to expand that globally.”
MeMe is a live streaming platform that enables anyone to stream, interact with their audience, build a following and get paid to do it. With MeMe, livestreamers can do live performances such as singing or talking in a very funny way.
Audiences on MeMe can also interact with live streamers and other viewers, showing their support, strengthening their profile and increasing their own following along the way.
“As far as monetization goes, you can think about this as digital tips for performers who have hyper-local appeal,” said Mayfield managing director Tim Chang. “If you bid high enough, you might be the preferred fan or the one who gets to make a request. It mimics real-life behavior at clubs, where you buy someone a bottle of champagne.”
The service was launched in Taiwan in October 2016 and is slated to launch in other territories in 2017.
By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media