Smule announces strategic investment of over $20 million from Times Bridge in India
This is Times Bridge's third investment this year, after investing in MUBI and Houzz
Social network for music Smule on Thursday announced a strategic investment from Times Bridge, the global investments and partnerships arm of The Times Group. This long-term partnership with Times Bridge will give Smule a strategic edge as it scales up operations in India, its second-largest international market, the company said in a statement.
Smule currently boasts of 50 million monthly active users. On Smule, users are able to collaborate with and listen to all types of music, with anyone from anywhere in the world. Times Bridge has entered into a strategic partnership with Smule and concluded an investment worth over $20 million in the company. This is Times Bridge's third investment this year, after investing in MUBI and Houzz, in their bid to expand their existing investment portfolio of innovative consumer tech companies.
Times Bridge will also guide Smule in engaging India’s multi-lingual music culture. Leveraging its network of media assets, Times Bridge will partner on varied aspects such as community building, collaborations with top artists, targeted regional programmes and advertising. Smule is the first social music platform to partner with Times Bridge in India.
With this investment, Smule plans to increase its exposure in the Indian digital music market and grow the market organically. Smule is keen to tap into India’s flourishing diverse music culture. In May 2017, Smule raised $54 million in a financing round led by Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Talking about the partnership, Jeffrey Smith, Smule’s CEO and Co-founder, said, “Indian audiences are passionate about connecting through music. We want to enhance those connections in an authentic way and we are thrilled to partner with Times Bridge to marshal the best of The Times Group on Smule’s behalf.”
“Smule is about empowering our community to do more of what they love – from singing with their favourite celebrities to collaborating with friends to discovering new music. We're thrilled to find a partner that both shares our vision and has the cultural insights and market reach to deliver it,” Smith added.
Rishi Jaitly, CEO of Times Bridge, said, "Times Bridge’s mission is to bring the world’s best ideas to India and share India’s best insights with the world. Smule is a deeply original, bold idea with a mission of changing the way the world experiences music. Our investment will advance Smule’s music mission across the Indian subcontinent and unlock the creativity of many millions along the way. We are delighted to be working with a partner who approaches India with the empathy, conviction and optimism that the Indian market warrants.”
exchange4media Group Service
Anshu Sarin and Gautam Trivedi have been appointed as new directors on the board
Continuing with the transformation journey as Raymond Reimagined, Raymond Apparel Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Raymond Limited has appointed Nirvik Singh as the Non - Executive Chairman and has inducted Anshu Sarin and Gautam Trivedi as new board members.
Demonstrating the spirit of good governance and ensuring the business is being run professionally, Gautam Hari Singhania has stepped down from the position of the Chairman and paved way for Nirvik Singh to take charge as the Non - Executive Chairman of Raymond Apparel Limited. However, Gautam Hari Singhania continues to be on the board of Raymond Apparel Limited. Anshu Sarin has joined the Board as a Non-executive Director along with Gautam Trivedi who has joined the Board as an Independent Director.
Operating in the space of branded apparel, Raymond Apparel Limited continues to grow its market share and offer the full wardrobe solution to the discerning consumer with its ready to wear power brands such as Park Avenue, Color Plus, Parx and Raymond Ready to Wear. With a focus on product innovations and go to market strategy, Raymond Apparel Limited will utilize the immense experience and relevant skill sets of the new members on the board.
Commenting on the appointments, Gautam Hari Singhania, Chairman & Managing Director, Raymond Limited said; “I have always believed in setting the highest standard of governance and have always advocated running the business professionally. I am delighted that Nirvik Singh has been appointed as the Non - Executive Chairman of Raymond Apparel Limited and I am sure that the company will benefit tremendously under his able leadership. I also welcome Anshu Sarin and Gautam Trivedi as new board members of Raymond Apparel Limited.”
Raymond Apparel Limited continues to expand its retail footprint with a high focus on MBO channel penetration, enhancing in-house retail experience and omnichannel growth strategy along with strengthening the consumer engagement programmes across platforms.
Having registered the growth of 15% during the last quarter over the previous year, Raymond Apparel Limited is poised to achieve a strong growth with the infusion of industry veterans in the forthcoming quarters. Nirvik is a 27-year marketing and communication industry veteran and is currently the Chairman & CEO, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa of Grey Group Asia Pacific. He began his career with Lipton India, a Unilever company and became the head of Grey Group India at the age of 33.
He has received the Bharat Nirman Rattan Award for outstanding individual achievements and distinguished services to India by the National Integration and Economic Council, among many other honors. Nirvik joined the Board of Raymond Apparel Limited in July 2011 and has since remained as an Independent Director on the Board.
Anshu is the Chief Executive Officer of Berggruen Hotels and plays a central role in growing and expanding the Keys Hotels business across India. Anshu is a qualified Hotel Management graduate from IHM Pusa and holds an EMBA degree from S.P Jain Institute. She has previously worked with the Taj Group of Hotels and Kingfisher Airlines, in a career spanning nearly two decades.
Gautam Trivedi is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Nepean Capital. Gautam has over 26 years of experience in the Indian and Asian financial industry. He was the CEO of Religare Capital Markets, one of India’s leading Mid & Small Cap focused Investment Banks.
Prior to that, he was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs having worked in their Hong Kong and Mumbai offices. Gautam has also worked at Reliance Industries Ltd., Jardine Fleming (Asia), CLSA and DSP Merrill Lynch. He has an MBA from the University of Southern California (USC) and is an Aspen Institute fellow.
Dasari will be suceeded by Dheeraj Hinduja who will take over as Executive Chairman with immediate effect
Hinduja Group's flagship firm Ashok Leyland's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) Vinod K Dasari has quit citing personal reasons, according to media reports.
His resignation has been accepted by the company but he has been reportedly asked to continue till March 31, 2019. Dasari will be suceeded by Dheeraj Hinduja who will take over as Executive Chairman with immediate effect.
“After completing 14 years with the company, Vinod K Dasari has decided to pursue his personal interests and seek new learning,” Media reports quoted the company as stating.
Reports also quoted Dheeraj Hinduja as saying, "I would like to place on record the contribution of Dasari in making Ashok Leyland a formidable force in the industry. He along with his leadership team steered the company to ensure significant all-round performance. We wish Dasari the very best in his future endeavors".
Dasari, meanwhile, has reportedly said that his decision to leave is purely personal as he wishes to pursue his personal interests.
Dasari has been the Managing Director of Ashok Leyland Limited since April 2011. He was promoted as Chief Executive Officer in April 2016.
Fuel India will be led by Debarpita Banerjee, President North and East, FCB Ulka
Sébastien Desclée, Chief Executive Officer of FuelContent, the newest content production arm of FCB Global Network, on Wednesday announced its expansion into India. With offices pan India-- Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi and Kolkata--, this new venture builds upon FuelContent’s existing hubs in Canada (Fuel Canada) and South Africa (Fuel SAF).
Talking about the venture, Desclée said, “Since its inception in 2016, FuelContent has been steadily gaining momentum to become a robust global network. This latest addition in India is the next piece in the puzzle, providing a rich market in which to tell ‘Never Finished’ stories to new audiences.”
“Forging a larger FuelContent network adds value to our clients’ businesses and provides the opportunity for us to strengthen our offerings in Asia and continue to grow our global footprint,” Desclée added.
Desclée took the helm at FuelContent earlier this year after spending four years at FCB International, where he served as President. After launching FuelContent in key markets, Desclée sought to expand the network further, in order to deliver both for existing clients looking to extend their partnership in new markets and for new clients in need of content production solutions.
Fuel Content on the whole specialises in film, animation, visual effects, post production, graphic design, photography and virtual reality.
Fuel India will be led by Debarpita Banerjee, President North and East, FCB Ulka, and the India operation will offer content creation solutions in an end-to-end format.
“Fuel India will integrate key FCB tools like Brand Bedrock and align core brand strategy to content strategy, to create Never Finished content platforms. And since content creation is always a collaborative, Fuel India will also work closely with a network of individual content creators and different digital platforms to optimize content visibility and management,” Banerjee said.
The region will also collaborate with Fuel Canada and Fuel SAF. Fuel Canada, led by FCB Canada CEO Tyler Turnbull, focuses on photography, graphic design and banner animation, while Fuel SAF, led by group Managing Director Mark Tomlinson, boasts expertise in TVC production & post production, 2D & 3D animation, 3D modeling & texturing and video editing.
Between these three regional offices, FuelContent will be able to provide 24/hour service for its clients.
The organisation currently represents Adidas, BMW Cell C, Coca-Cola, Lexus, Lord & Taylor, MTV, NIVEA and Toyota, among others.
Carter Murray, FCB Worldwide CEO, said, “In our fast-paced modern world, content has become one of the most powerful forms of communication. Growing FuelContent – FCB’s branch at the forefront of brand storytelling – provides increased connectivity and allows us to stay ahead of the curve. I am very excited about the potential this expansion brings.”
While the probe did not find evidence to corroborate complainant’s assertions against Binny, it did reveal other lapses in judgement, particularly a lack of transparency, Walmart said in a statement.
Flipkart's Co-founder & Group CEO Binny Bansal has resigned from the company with immediate effect following an internal investigation conducted by Flipkart and its parent firm Walmart into an allegation of “serious personal misconduct.” Though the company has not provided any detail about the nature of the allegation, some media reports suggest that it pertains to sexual misconduct.
Bansal (37) has, however, strongly denied the allegations, Walmart has said in a statement issued on Tuesday, according to media reports.
The statement reportedly read, "Earlier today, Binny Bansal announced his resignation as CEO of Flipkart Group, effective immediately. Binny has been an important part of Flipkart since co-founding the company, but recent events risked becoming a distraction and Binny has made a decision to step down.”
“His decision follows an independent investigation done on behalf of Flipkart and Walmart into an allegation of serious personal misconduct. He strongly denies the allegation. Nevertheless, we had a responsibility to ensure the investigation was deliberate and thorough. While the investigation did not find evidence to corroborate the complainant’s assertions against Binny, it did reveal other lapses in judgement, particularly a lack of transparency, related to how Binny responded to the situation. Because of this, we have accepted his decision to resign,” the statement added.
The statement further read, “Binny has been contemplating a transition for some time and we have been working together on a succession plan, which has now been accelerated. Going forward, Kalyan Krishnamurthy will continue to be CEO of Flipkart, which will now include Myntra and Jabong, continuing to operate as separate platforms within the Flipkart business. Ananth Narayanan will continue providing great leadership as CEO of Myntra and Jabong, and will report into Kalyan. Sameer Nigam will continue leading PhonePe as CEO. Both Kalyan and Sameer will report directly into the board."
Bansal had stayed on at Flipkart while his other co-founder Sachin Bansal left the company after Walmart acquired majority ownership in the online retailer earlier this year.
Neville Bastawalla has been associated with SPNI for more than five years now.
Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI)’s Senior Vice President and Head Marketing- English Channels Neville Bastawalla has got a new role. He will now be the Marketing Head of the network's sports cluster. The development has been confirmed to exchange4media by highly placed sources.
Bastawalla will succeed Kedar Teny, who quit in September.
Bastawalla has been associated with SPNI for more than five years now. Prior to joining SPNI, he was with Star India as AVP and Head Marketing, Hindi Movies Cluster. He joined Star India in January 2011 as AVP & Head, Marketing, English channels.
He has also worked with Mid Day Infomedia as Head Marketing for more than three years. Bastawalla has also been associated with brands such as Nickeloden, HSBC, Walt Disney Company, Contract Advertising and Mudra communications, DDB India.
exchange4media Group Service
Ashish Chowdhary will succeed Michel Coulomb. He had been associated with Nokia as the Chief Customer Operations Officer
Apple has appointed Ashish Chowdhary as its new Country Manager for India. He will join in January 2019, according to media reports. Chowdhary will succeed Michel Coulomb.
Chowdhary had been associated with Nokia as the Chief Customer Operations Officer (CCOO).
He had joined Nokia in December 2003 and had also been part of the company’s executive board of Nokia Networks and NSN since 2009. Chowdhary has also served as Head of Global Services at Nokia Siemens Networks and Vice President for Enterprise Business at Hughes Communications Ltd.
Shankar comes with 25 years of experience with brands such as the Economic Times, Reuters, Hindustan Times and most recently, Network18
The Printers Mysore, the publisher of Deccan Herald from Bengaluru and six other cities in Karnataka, has appointed Sitaraman Shankar as Editor of the newspaper and the website deccanherald.com. A chemical technologist-turned-journalist, Shankar comes with 25 years of experience with brands such as the Economic Times, Reuters, Hindustan Times and most recently, Network18.
He has worked in developed, emerging and frontier markets across the various disciplines of reporting, feature writing, editing, news editing, and managing teams. He has been based in Mumbai, New Delhi, Frankfurt, London and Dubai and also reported out of Moscow, Vienna and Singapore.
"Shankar's appointment as Editor comes as part of an organisation-wide transformation", said K N Tilak Kumar, Joint Managing Director, who previously held the editorship of the paper.
Commenting on the appointment, Karthik Balakrishnan, CEO of The Printers Mysore, said, "Deccan Herald, one of the most trusted media brands, is poised to move into a higher orbit. Shankar coming on board will surely accelerate this transition".
Speaking on his new role, Sitaraman Shankar said, “I feel privileged to be closely associated with Deccan Herald, a brand with a great legacy that is embarking on an exciting journey".
Bhat, a veteran journalist with The Printers Mysore, was tasked with the leadership role after the decision was made by the board of directors and the company's executive leadership
Prajavani, the Kannada daily newspaper, has appointed Ravindra Bhat as Executive Editor in September this year.
Bhat, a veteran journalist with The Printers Mysore, the company that publishes the daily, was tasked with the leadership role after the board of directors and the company's executive leadership decided to make this change.
Ravindra Bhat hails from Siddapura, in Karnataka and is a post graduate in Mass Communication and Journalism from Karnataka University, Dharawad. He started his career with Samyukta Karnataka as a sub-editor in 1990 and later served as a sub-editor/ reporter in Udayavani.
He joined Prajavani in 1995, where he has served in multiple roles as sub-editor, district correspondent, staff correspondent and news bureau chief (Mysore) before assuming his current role as the executive editor of Prajavani. He has published 10 books on culture and social issues.
He is a recipient of Media Academy Honorary Award, Karnataka Government Development Journalism Award, Charaka Award and many others. Prajvani has seen substantial gain in recent years and we would like to keep that momentum going.
"With that intent, the board and executive leadership took the decision to put Bhat in charge of the Prajavani newsroom," said K N Shanth Kumar, Director, who was Editor of Prajavani until recently.
"Readers are demanding ever-increasing quality of content in the vernacular space too. Prajavani, being one of the pioneering brands in this space, will continue to deliver on this promise," said Karthik Balakrishnan, CEO of The Printers Mysore, adding, "Ravindra Bhat, a veteran journalist, understands this and is well-positioned to meet the high expectations of Kannada readers."
Speaking about his appointment, Ravindra Bhat said, “I feel honoured and privileged for the new role with Prajavani a brand with a great legacy that is embarking on an exciting journey".
Twitter also appoints SPNI's Rahul Pushkarna as APAC Head of Content Partnerships
Twitter has recently made two senior appointments.
Akash Deep Batra, the former Head of Brand Communication, Corporate Brand & NHW at Nestle, has joined Twitter India as its new Business Head for West & South regions. Sources confirmed Batra's news to exchange4media.
Rahul Pushkarna has been made APAC Head of Content Partnerships at Twitter. He will based in Singapore. Prior to this, Pushkarna was with Sony Pictures Entertainment as Director, Sales Development, Asia, in Hong Kong.
Batra stepped down from Nestle recently after being associated with the company for almost seven years. Prior to joining Nestle, he was Consultant - Digital Consumer Innovations, Retail, CPG & Logistics Business Unit at Infosys. Batra holds Masters in Business Administration from the prestigious IIM Bengaluru and B.Tech in IT from Kurukshetra University.
Announcing Pushkarna's appointment, Maya Hari, VP & MD, Asia-Pacific, Twitter, said in her tweet:
— Maya Hari (@maya_hari) 12 November 2018
Sharing the news of his appointment, Pushkarna tweeted:
Some personal news ?— Push (@rahul_pushkarna) 12 November 2018
Very excited to announce that, as of today, I have joined @Twitter as APAC Head of Content Partnerships, based in Singapore! Huge fan of the powerful work this team already does around the region, and can't wait to work closer with them. pic.twitter.com/ZFJVf9lGki
Thanking his friends and colleagues at Sony Pictures, Rahul further tweeted:
Massive thanks to my friends and colleagues at Sony Pictures. I will miss you dearly but am excited we can collaborate on showing the world your dynamite slate of content. Equally thrilled to partner with Asia's leading content players across sports, news, and entertainment!— Push (@rahul_pushkarna) 12 November 2018
Ranadeep Chakravarty brings with him 15 years of experience in both digital and mainline advertising and marketing.
Network18 Digital (N18D), the digital arm of Network18, has announced the elevation of Ranadeep Chakravarty to Marketing Head of Firstpost, News18 and in.com. In his new role, he will lead all marketing, communications and strategic partnerships for Firstpost, News18 (English) and in.com. He will also oversee the public relations and trade communication activities for the three brands.
Ranadeep Chakravarty brings with him 15 years of experience in both digital and mainline advertising and marketing. With a keen eye for design and vast knowledge in branding, he has significantly contributed in designing a number of commendable digital products, campaigns and brand identities for Network18. Prior to joining Network18, Chakravarty was at the forefront in leading creative and brand strategy duties at various MNCs and Indian agencies, namely Bates Worldwide, Rediffusion, Madison, Rediff.com and LK Saatchi & Saatchi to name a few.
Commenting on the announcement, Azim Lalani, Business Head, English General News cluster, Network18 Digital, said, “Network18 is strengthening its foothold in the digital space at a rapid pace. This is visible by the fact that it has acquired a very high number of unique visitors in a short period of time. By bringing the marketing activities of the three properties - Firstpost, News18.com and in.com – under one head, we plan to further align, strengthen and accelerate the growth of immensely popular news portals.”
“Ranadeep has been instrumental in leading the marketing activities and effective brand collaborations at Firstpost. We are confident that his in-depth expertise and exceptional creativity will enable the websites to be recognized as the desired news destination that provides relevant, insightful and hard-hitting news,” Lalani added.
Speaking about his new role, Ranadeep Chakravarty said, “I am excited to undertake the new responsibilities with Network18. It has been a great journey till now. Our efforts have got Firstpost in the top five leading Indian media digital publications. In my new role, the focus will be to continue to engage a diverse set of audience with strong, relevant and original content. I look forward to leading the team and enhancing the brand resonance through innovative ideas, brand partnerships and unique properties across segments.”