Smule raises $20M, with plans to expand India operations


App maker turned music social network Smule has raised another $20 million. The latest round follows a $54 million raise in May of last year, led by Tencent, intent on helping the company expand Asia operations. This time out, funding is arriving via Times Bridge, the VC wing of India media conglomerate The Times Group.

The “strategic investment” comes as Smule pushes to expand its footprint in India, currently the second largest of the app maker’s international markets. Engaging there requires building a platform for an utterly massive and multi-lingual market.

“Building the Smule brand in India is a long term process, but a critical facet of realizing our vision to connect the world through music,” CEO and co-founder Jeffrey Smith told TechCrunch. “We are therefore thrilled to expand our reach in India through this significant partnership with Times Bridge.”

The round marks the first full social media partnership for Times Bridge, which finds the organization leveraging connections with local artists and helping to provide targeted marketing for Smule.

“Times Bridge’s mission is to bring the world’s best ideas to India and share India’s best insights with the world,” Times Bridge CEO Rishi Jaitly says in a statement. “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.”

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