India’s fastest-growing lifestyle-community-commerce platform, Trell, announced a $4 million pre-Series A round led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, Fozun RZ Capital and KTB Network. Existing investors Beenext, WEH Ventures and Sprout Ventures also participated in the round.
Launched in August 2017, by IIT Bombay Alumni Arun Lodhi, Prashant Sachan, Pulkit Agrawal and NITIE Alumnus Bimal Kartheek Rebba, Trell is a mobile application that enables Indian users to share and discover personalized recommendations and product reviews across lifestyle interests such as- skincare & personal grooming, fashion, cooking, wellness, movie & web-show reviews, home decor, and travel. Today, the platform has created an ecosystem of regional influencers or KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) who are sharing localized and relevant content in 5 Indian languages like Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, English, and Hindi.
With over 15 Million downloads and 5 Million monthly active users on its app, Trell has grown 20X in the last 12 months and has emerged as one of the biggest lifestyle platforms in India. In January 2020 alone, their community of 500,000 content creators published 1.2 Million content pieces on Trell which garnered more than 300 Million views.
Pulkit Agrawal, Co-Founder, Trell said, “Today, over 400Mn Indian Language internet users struggle with lifestyle aspirations. The dearth of meaningful content in their own languages and lack of trustworthy sources of information on the internet are the two prime reasons for this. We actively engage with our KOLs through the ‘Trell Creators’ Academy’ program, where currently 25,000 creators are being educated every day to create valuable content, grow their reach, become influencers and eventually solve for the scarcity of regional content. With more vernacular KOLs coming on Trell, we have become the most relatable community-commerce platform for our users.”
Prashant Sachan, Co-Founder, Trell said, “The Trell community is built on the pillars of authenticity and trust. The creation guidelines on Trell do not encourage selling or promoting a product directly. It’s about telling your story and personal experiences that are helping thousands of micro-communities in India to make purchase decisions. This has led to an overwhelming creator and user love, strong word-of-mouth organic growth and a sharp decline in customer acquisition cost. Brands, as well as sellers, have been approaching us realizing the long-term potential of content-commerce in the presence of a strong community.”
The new round of investment will be used to strengthen the Machine Learning and AI efforts of the company. Trell will further invest in expanding the community and is looking to penetrate deeper into new tier 2/3 Indian markets by adding 10 regional languages by the end of 2020.
Krishna Vinjamuri, Executive Director from Fosun RZ Capital said, At Fosun, it is our endeavor to support passionate young teams solving critical problems. Trell solves for the discovery of lifestyle choices for the next half billion population coming online. It is the largest platform in India growing at 25% month-on-month with strong engagement metrics. By extending the discovery to transactions, Trell can provide holistic solutions to their consumers.”
Trell counts prominent names like Rajan Anandan, Aprameya Radhakrishna, (Co-founder of Vocal and TaxiForSure), Ramakant Sharma (Co-founder, LivSpace), Nitin Gupta (Co-founder, PayUMoney), Anupam Mittal (Founder, Shaadi.com), Amit Lakhotia (ex-Tokopedia, Paytm), Shanti Mohan (CEO, LetsVenture) in its existing list of angel investors. Trell was also a part of the second cohort of Surge, Sequoia Capital India’s rapid-scale up program. With this funding, the total funding raised by Trell comes to $5.5 million.
Bimal Kartheek Rebba, Co-Founder, Trell, said, “We are focused on building a meaningful supply of content by getting creators on board, grooming them and making them better storytellers. We believe that content creation will become a wide-spread profession as our internet population will scale to a Billion users and get even more hungry for consuming relevant content. This will unlock beautiful opportunities for millions of artists, writers, and storytellers to adopt this as an alternate career choice. For instance, there are a massive number of house-wives who are coming onto our platform from Tier 2 cities and have been sharing recipes in aspiration of becoming the next Tarla Dalal and Nisha Madhulika of India!”
Arun Lodhi, Co-Founder, Trell, said, “At Trell, we are leveraging cutting edge advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence for building a personalized experience. We are also utilizing advanced tech in helping the content creators on our platform to further hone their craft. By analyzing data around various content pieces, we provide personalized recommendations to KOLs, in addition to other tips and tricks that help them improve their craft, especially storytelling.”