Kumu, a Philippines-based livestream and content mobile app, has secured a total of US$1.2 million seed funding round. The funding was led by Summit Media, with a personal angel investment from the media company’s president and CEO, Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, who’s also the director of Robinsons Bank.
Summit Media was joined by FOXMONT Capital Partners; Two Culture Capital, which is managed by ex-Googler Scott Hartley; and Jove Schrottmann of Mandala Spa Boracay.
The company claimed that the investment marks one of the first notable investments ever made in the sector in Southeast Asia region as live streaming and content industry are mostly dominated by larger markets like in the US or China.
As for Summit Media, the company believes that the investment it has made is a strategic one as Summit Media will gain a livestream and content platform to its sprawling media portfolio.
“Our investment in Kumu is an important addition to our portfolio. We are committed to investing in the future of media, as we are cognizant of our audiences’ rapidly changing needs,” said Gokongwei-Cheng.
In exchange, Summit Media claimed that Kumu will gain a client network that already includes many of the top advertisers by spend in the Philippines.
Kumu allows fans to tip their favorite content creator on the platform, giving life to the term “social television”. It was founded in 2017 by founders Roland Ros, Rexy Dorado, Andrew Pineda, Clare Ros, and Angelo Mendez.
“Kumu understands how hard it is to earn from your passion. We are therefore allocating some of the funding to support our livestreamers across the creative process, beginning with training and going all the way up to production. Our goal is to create the world’s first social television network, where content creators can readily find enthusiastic fans who want to engage with them,” said Roland Ros, CEO and co-founder of Kumu.
The platform collaborates with many shows and provides multiple ways for brands to reach their target audiences, like using the app’s community chats called Kumunities. Some examples on how brand can utilise Kumu is with advertising prizes on in-house shows or sponsoring individual livestreamers.
Using Kumu, other companies will be able to launch branded digital gifts that users can gift to their favorite content creators, who can redeem them for cash via the platform’s wallet feature.
In addition to user-generated content, the other key to Kumu’s vision of social television is its own in-house productions, which also will be expanded after the funding. Kumu features original shows via livestreaming.
“Since livestreaming is still relatively new in the Philippines, it is our company’s responsibility to show Filipinos what is possible to achieve through this medium. I believe our users will run with these examples to produce something uniquely their own, and more importantly, engaging for us all,” said Kumu Head of Strategy and Co-Founder Rexy Dorado.
One of Kumu’s first financially successful creatives are Ffyona and Earl, an acoustic duo that dropped out from the University of the Philippines to pursue music full-time and find success on Kumu.
To date, the app said that it has posted double-digit, month-over-month growth in both users and content creators, reaching over 100,000 users.
Image Credit: Kumu