Desi Hits!, a San Francisco-based entertainment portal focused on South Asia, said it has raised $1 million in a first round of funding.
Investors included Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and Trident Capital. It plans to deliver celebrity interviews, music videos and streaming clips, live and archived podcasts of the latest tracks by established and emerging artists, and to let users interact and host their own shows.
The term “Desi” refers to the people or when used as an adjective, the products of the diasporic subculture of South Asians (including those with origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives). The fusion of South Asian and western sensibilities is evident in pop culture worldwide and its consumers are not just Desis. Desi Hits! began as a blog a year ago and quickly blossomed into a vibrant online community strictly through viral-driven traffic. Its popularity is validated by an average of 180,000 page views each month (and rising) from 65 countries, and top rankings across the “Desi genre” on iTunes with over 1/3 million podcasts downloaded to date, all prior to any formal marketing efforts. The investment will be used to accelerate the company’s branding initiatives, enhance service offerings and acquire staffing to grow the business.
Co-founder Anjula Acharia-Bath notes, “It’s an exciting time as awareness and the appetite for Desi culture is growing globally• radio play of recently released Desi-remix “Powerless” by Nelly Furtado with Canadian-Indian band Josh, the highly publicized launch of Virgin Comics Indian mythology line, and rave reviews of Gurinder Chadha’s film Bend it Like Beckham are just a few examples.” On the vision for Desi Hits!, Acharia-Bath says, “Presenting and promoting entertainment, particularly music, that truly represents the dual-culture reality of the hip South Asian that listens to Beyonce, Bohemia, the Bombay Rockers and Bollywood beats, is what inspires us.