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Ayala, Lopez, Gokongwei Companies Join $5-Million Funding Round for Live Streaming App Kumu

Fresh funds will go to scale up operations and introduce new features.
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Philippine-based media and tech firm Kumu Holdings Pte. Ltd. has raised approximately $5 million (around P255 million) during its Series A funding round, the company announced Tuesday, April 14. 

Kumu is primarily a live streaming platform that allows users to broadcast to their followers, participate in live quiz shows and games, follow personalities, and connect with other Kumu users globally.

The funding was led by Openspace Ventures, one of the largest venture capital firms in Singapore. This is Openspace’s second portfolio company in the Philippines, having previously invested in fashion ecommerce platform BeautyMNL. 

Other companies participating in the funding round include those from three of the biggest business families in the Philippines: Kickstart Ventures, the corporate VC firm of Ayala family-owned Globe Telecom; Lopez family-owned ABS-CBN, the country’s largest media and entertainment company; and Gokongwei family-owned Summit Media Inc.

(Esquire Philippines is published by Summit Media Inc.)

Gobi Core Philippine Fund, a local partnership with international investment firm Gobi Partners that also manages the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund; and Philippine-based VC Foxmont Capital Partners, complete the list of declared funding round participants.

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“As the rise of global interactive platforms such as Tik Tok and live streaming apps gain acceptance with the younger generation, there remains a significant gap for local content and hyper-local networks,” said Openspace Ventures co-founder and partner at Hian Goh. “The Philippines, with 103 million citizens and a young, internet-savvy population, have found Kumu to be a compelling addition to the media landscape.”

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“Filipinos are spending more and more time online to consume content and to find and connect with like-minded people, and Kumu has created a path for Pinoys to do these things in a way that uniquely captures the Pinoy spirit of community,” said Kickstart Ventures vice president for investments Joan Cybil Yao.

Kumu says it will use the fresh capital to scale up its current operations and roll out new features. Among these features is a hybrid AI/community-driven live commerce platform, which will allow fans to purchase products while watching their favorite livestreamers, giving content creators more opportunities to earn from their streams. Kumu says it’s the first of its kind for a Filipino company.

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“Our livestream ecommerce pilot generated almost 300 product purchases in a 10-minute period,” said Kumu co-founder Roland Ros. “We’re excited to see how our Kumu Livestreamers use this platform to better engage with their followers.”

Although Kumu did not disclose its revenue figures, a story in DealStreetAsia said that it is aiming to hit profitability by 2021 or by the time of its Series B funding round.

Kumu’s revenues mostly comes from virtual gift purchases (to its influencers), branded content and in-app ecommerce.

The company says it reached the milestone of three million registered users recently. It now has over 25,000 livestreams every day with users spending an average of one hour with the app daily.

Company executives said it has seen a surge in app activity in recent weeks since the start of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine. Kumu itself has rolled out new initiatives to help groups such as churches and industry associations move their events online, and has organized fundraisers involving local celebrities for families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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