Triller Aims for TikTok in $28 Million Funding Windfall

Triller, the AI-powered music video platform, has announced new funding from a Series B round estimated by sources valued at $28 million.

The funding was raised by venture group Proxima Media.

A four-year-old, $130 million social media video sharing company, Triller allows users to upload short videos of themselves set to music. The young company says it has 13 million monthly active users and 60 million downloads, most of which are mainly in the U.S. and parts of Europe.

While those numbers are smaller than social music rival TikTok, Triller has gained a solid reputation in the music industry, particularly among hip-hop artists, including as DJ Khaled, Tyga and YG.

For the round, Proxima Media brought in a consortium of well-known industry veterans including Silicon Valley veteran Mahi de Silva, assumng the role of Triller’s chairman. de Silva guided companies from startup to Unicorn exits totaling over $10 Billion spanning VeriSign, Sonicwall, AdMarvel, Opera, Slam Dunk Networks, Noventis, and Looksery.

Funds will fuel product enhancements for music sharing, content creation, and artist discovery, with sights on overtaking competitor TikTok. 

According to Triller, the service has the highest engagement of any social music platform in terms of daily time spent on the application, with users spending an average of 20 minutes per day and creators spending more than an hour.

But, there’s only so much time users will spend on their phones using the service. Competition for user attention crowded as TikTok and Snap try to differentiate to stand out, and also find ways monetize what they offer.

Triller’s recent acquisition and integration of MashTraxx, a machine learning platform for music and video editing, gives Triller users next-generation editing tools.

And, Triller’s music licensing partnerships with Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Universal, allow users to create content with a catalog of music and share it across multiple social platforms, without licensing fees.

“Triller prioritizes creators, allowing them to showcase their work and connect with their audiences through the universal language of music,” said Mike Lu, CEO of Triller. “This funding round reflects broad support from savvy, successful investors that appreciate our relentless focus on artist discovery and continuous expansion of Triller’s groundbreaking AI technology. Proxima Media’s team and expertise give us access to unparalleled content and IP.”

“Triller has grown at an incredible rate in a competitive market, and has fundamentally expanded opportunities for content creators to reach new audiences,” said Bobby Sarnevesht, partner at Proxima Media and now executive chairman of Triller. Mr. Sarnevesht, who has a deep background in technology and music, has taken operational control of Triller as part of this transaction.

Though TikTok is secretive about its user demographics and server algorithm, its user base is young: 40 percent are under 20 and another 26 percent are under 30. Young people watch 2.5 times more internet video than they do TV, one reason why TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is estimated to be worth $75 billion.

In September 2018, TikTok had surpassed Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat in monthly installs, and by February 2019 it had been downloaded more than a billion times globally.

Published by: Charles Ederer

Charles is Streaming Week's editor and publisher. A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, he writes about the intersection of business strategy and music-streaming innovation.

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