~ Company Plans To Aggressively Expand Its Launch of Character Entertainment Brands Through New Digital Comics & Animation Platform ~
Bangalore, India (March 19, 2015) — Graphic India announced today that it closed a new seed-financing round of $2.8 Million. The new financing round was led by existing investor, CA Media LP, the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group, LLC (TCG), and NYC based, media investment group, Start Media, founded by Michael Maher. The new round also included prominent angel investors, such as Backflip Studios founders, Julian Farrior and Dale Thoms.
Graphic India produces digital comics and animation to create new character franchises targeting the 550 million Indian youth under the age of 25 and the 850 million person mobile market as they leapfrog directly to smartphones & tablets. In the same way that America created superheroes and Japan created anime, Graphic India is tapping into the creativity of India to launch a new wave of enduring characters and mythic heroes for audiences in India and around the world.
Sharad Devarajan, CEO & Co-Founder of Graphic India commented, “The next Steven Spielberg, JK Rowling, Stan Lee or Miyazaki exists somewhere in India, ready to change the world through their stories. At Graphic, we will find these breakthrough talents and give them the resources and the digital platform to share their creativity with the world. This new financing will expand our content offering and allow us to create India’s premiere mobile platform for comics and animation – engaging and building a passionate community of superhero, sci-fi and mythology fans through Graphic’s content and characters.”
Over the next few months, Graphic India will unveil a number of digital products and apps in India to build direct engagement with the growing community of passionate comic book and animation fans in the Country. The new digital offering will release hundreds of free digital comics and digital videos in English, Hindi, Tamil and other local Indian languages.
Founded in January 2013, by media entrepreneurs Sharad Devarajan, Gotham Chopra and Suresh Seetharaman, Graphic India had previously raised $2.5 Million in initial seed financing from CA Media.
“We have always believed in the immense potential of Graphic India. An amalgamation of talent and creativity, the characters, heroes and stories from Graphic India, tap into the unique ingenuity and culture of India, but appeal to audiences worldwide. With smart phones increasingly becoming the preferred medium of entertainment for the youth and the ever increasing consumer reach of mobiles in India, the move towards expanding their offering and creating content for smart phones & tablets will give them with a significant boost and enthuse the next generation of comic buffs.” commented Rajesh Kamat, COO Chernin Asia Media Group.
Michael Maher, Founder and CEO of Start Media added, “Graphic continues to execute its plan to create globally commercial intellectual property and to use it to overcome barriers to new markets both in India and elsewhere around the globe. We at Start Media are pleased to be a part of Graphic’s continued and rapid growth.”
Since its launch, Graphic locked up licensing deals and content partnerships with Cartoon Network, Rovio, YouTube, Mandalay, Lionsgate and others to license its digital comics and characters into television and film.
Graphic’s character, “Chakra The Invincible,” created with Stan Lee (co-creator of Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man and The Avengers), launched from a digital web series to a number of animated movies for Cartoon Network India. The web series was selected as a limited number of shows to launch through the Angry Birds app on Rovio’s ToonsTV where it has over 30 million views from audiences worldwide. The Company recently announced plans to work with Lee and his POW! Entertainment on producing the character as Lee’s first Bollywood live action film.
Graphic’s digital series, “18 Days,” a reinvention of the eastern epic myth, The Mahabharata, was reinvented by Batman writer, Grant Morrison and launched worldwide in partnership with YouTube, where the series has over 3 million views.
Beyond digital video, a number of Graphic’s digital comics and projects have also been licensed into theatrical live action film deals for Hollywood, with “Ramayan 3392AD” in development with Mandalay Pictures; “The Sadhu” in development with Mark Canton (producer of the ‘300’ films); “The Leaves” in development at Lionsgate; and “Titans” in development with J. Michael Straczynski (screenwriter of ‘Thor,’ ‘World War Z’) and Chernin Entertainment (producer of the ‘Planet of The Apes’ films).
About Graphic India
Graphic India is a character entertainment company focused on creating leading characters, comics and stories through mobile and digital platforms. Led by media entrepreneur Sharad Devarajan, who is Co-Founder and CEO, Graphic India’s investors include, CA Media LP, the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group, LLC (TCG) and Start Media, LLC. The company’s partners and investors bring together decades of experience in building businesses in character entertainment, media and India.
Graphic believes that India is home to some of the most creative talent in the world, with more than 500 million people under the age of 25 and more than 850 million mobile phone users in the country. The Company’s mission is to create enduring stories and heroes that foster the imaginations and fuel the inspirations of a new globalized generation of youth in both India and around the world.
Graphic’s stories include, Ramayan 3392A.D., The Leaves and The Sadhu, in development as Hollywood films; 18 Days, a reimagining of the great eastern epic, the Mahabharata, by acclaimed graphic novel creator, Grant Morrison which was launched as an animated digital series in partnership with YouTube India; Devi, a female superhero from acclaimed filmmaker, Shekhar Kapur; Chakra The Invincible, the first superhero for India from legendary creator Stan Lee; and numerous other heroes and stories.
About The Chernin Group
The Chernin Group, LLC (TCG) is a privately held, independent media holding company founded by Peter Chernin and based in Los Angeles, CA. TCG has built, managed, operated, and invested in businesses in the media, entertainment, and technology sectors around the world since 2010. TCG’s assets include Chernin Entertainment, which produces feature films and television programs; a majority stake in Hong Kong-based CA Media, which builds, manages, and operates media, entertainment, and technology businesses across Asia; a controlling stake in Crunchyroll an emerging OTT platform, and a range of strategic investments in media and digital media companies including Pandora, Twitter, Fullscreen, Base79, MiTú, Tumblr, Flipboard and Scopely. Providence Equity Partners LLC; Qatar Holding LLC; and 1Verge (investment vehicle of Victor Koo, founding CEO of Youku and Chengwei Capital) are other shareholders and strategic partners of TCG.
About CA Media
CA Media, the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group was founded in November 2010 with a mandate to build, manage and operate media, entertainment and technology businesses throughout Asia. CA Media is building a regional footprint primarily focused on the region’s dynamic growth markets including India, Indonesia and China. CA Media India has acquired significant stakes and has partnered in the success of Endemol India, Only Much Louder and Graphic India; CA Media has also independently incubated FLUENCE India’s leading Online Influencer Network around Celebrities and Brands.
About Start Media
Start Media, LLC is a privately held media company with interests in exhibition, feature film production and financing, content discovery technology and publishing. The company is acquiring and building content-driven companies designed to capitalize on dislocations created by an evolving media ecosystem.