Philippine livestreaming app Kumu announced that it has raised USD 5 million in a Series A funding round led by Openspace Ventures. Local investment firm Kickstart Ventures, media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corporation, Summit Media, Gobi-Core Philippine Fund, and VC firm Foxmont Capital Partners also participated in the round.
This is Openspace’s second portfolio company from the Philippines after its investment in fashion e-commerce platform BeautyMNL.
Kumu plans to use the new funds to scale up its operations and launch new features. The company said it recently reached 3 million registered users and is experiencing revenue growth, without providing specific figures. It also claims that over 100 Kumu livestreamers now earn at least PHP 20,000 (or nearly USD 400) each month from streaming original content on its platform.
“As the rise of global interactive platforms such as Tik Tok and livestreaming apps gain acceptance with the younger generation, there remains a significant gap for local content and hyper-local networks,” said Openspace co-founder and partner Hian Goh, adding that Kumu’s serving a 103 million population of young and internet-savvy Filipinos.
As for the new features, Kumu said it will be rolling out an AI- and community-driven live commerce platform. This will allow fans to purchase products while watching livestreamers, giving content creators more opportunities to earn from their streams, according to a statement.
“Our livestream e-commerce pilot generated almost 300 product purchases in a 10-minute period,” said Kumu co-founder Roland Ros. “The more we empower our creators to drive the digital influence of e-commerce in the Philippines, the more we empower consumers, fintech players, and logistics companies to participate in the digital marketplace of our motherland.”
TV network ABS-CBN hunting for new formats
Kumu might also see a wider reach with investment from ABS-CBN, one of the major TV networks in the Philippines. “With this app [Kumu], we envision a new era for our shows, game shows, and ABS-CBN talents, wherein fresh ideas and live interaction can serve our audience best,” ABS-CBN’s head of business development Luis Paolo M. Pineda said.
Kumu previously secured USD 1.2 million in a seed round from Summit Media and Foxmont Capital Partners, among others, in 2018.
This article first appeared in Tech in Asia.