New Delhi: Former Vodafone Global CEO Arun Sarin has picked up minority stake in music streaming company Saavn for an undisclosed amount. This is the second investment by Sarin, after taxi aggregator app Ola, in the Indian startup ecosystem in the last three months. “There is a huge opportunity that I see in the Indian Internet space. The growth that one has seen in the smartphone market is phenomenal and falling data rates will only drive Internet usage up in the country,” Sarin told PTI.
Music streaming is a core app on today’s smartphones and Saavn is superbly positioned to grow rapidly in the fast expanding smartphone market in India, he added. In July, Sarin had invested an undisclosed amount into Ola (run by ANI Technologies) and had joined the Bangalore-based firm as an independent director.
Saavn had raised USD 100 million in the same month from Tiger Global Management, existing investors Bertelsmann India Investments, Steadview Capital, Liberty Media and Mousse Partners.
“With over 90 per cent of our usage driven by smartphones, Saavn users are moving data plan transactions and driving data engagement at an incredible pace. In the coming months, you’ll see us work more deeply with carriers in India and additional territories,” Saavn co-founder and CEO Rishi Malhotra said.
Sarin brings unmatched industry insight, experience and instincts to Saavn’s business, he added. Malhotra said Saavn has witnessed a ten times increase in daily active users in India since 2014 and an average of a quarter billion streams per month. It has also expanded its catalogue to 20 million tracks.
Saavn, which offers its app across Android, iOS and Windows platforms, has 18 million monthly active users with a majority coming from India. It aims to increase the user base to 25 million by end of the year.