21 Nov 2017
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Graphic India raises $2.8 mn from Peter Chernin’s CA Media and Start Media

MUMBAI: Character entertainment company Graphic India has closed a new seed-financing round of $2.8 million, led by existing investor CA Media, the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group, and NYC-based media investment group Start Media.

The new round also included prominent angel investors such as Backflip Studios founders Julian Farrior and Dale Thoms.

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.

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-strong mobile market. 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.

Graphic India CEO and co-founder Sharad Devarajan 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.

“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 smartphones 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 smartphones and tablets will give them with a significant boost and enthuse the next generation of comic buffs,” commented Chernin Asia Media Group COO Rajesh Kamat.

Start Media founder-CEO Michael Maher 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 has locked deals and content partnerships with Cartoon Network, Rovio, YouTube, Mandalay, Lionsgate and others to license its digital comics and characters for 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 to produce the character as Lee’s first Bollywood live-action film.

Graphic’s digital series ’18 Days’, a reinvention of the Indian epic ‘The Mahabharata’, was reinvented by Batman writer Grant Morrison and launched worldwide in partnership with YouTube, where the series has garnered over three million views.

Beyond digital video, a number of Graphic’s digital comics and projects have been licensed into theatrical live action films for Hollywood, such as ‘Ramayan 3392 AD’, 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’, etc.) and Chernin Entertainment (producer of the ‘Planet of the Apes’ films).