India-focused mobile webtoon startup TOONSUTRA, incubating in stealth mode, announced it closed an oversubscribed pre-seed round for $1.1 million. The new startup was incubated at the character entertainment company, Graphic India, founded by media entrepreneur Sharad Devarajan.
The startup is building India’s first ‘Webtoons meets Web3’ platform with a mission to become India’s new storytelling home for disruptive creators to experiment, innovate and create engaging webtoon comic stories and digital collectibles for India’s 650 million+ mobile youth market.
In addition to some of the biggest comic book libraries from around the world, the platform will showcase and promote emerging rising star creators across India and give them a home to tell their stories. The TOONSUTRA app will feature a wide range of content for audiences across superhero, fantasy, romance, sci-fi, Bollywood, mythology, action, and more.
“TOONSUTRA will become India’s new storytelling home for disruptive creators across the country to experiment, innovate and create powerful new webtoon comic stories and web3 collectibles and experiences,” said Toonsutra, Founder, Sharad Devarajan.
“Webtoon platforms have become an explosive phenomenon across Asia, with top webtoon apps cumulatively reaching over 70 million monthly users and over 100 billion views a year. We want to make a webtoon app dedicated for Indians to spark a mobile comic and Web3 collectible revolution for the first time,” added Sharad.
The new startup was incubated at Graphic India, the country’s highest quality comic book producer and the creators of hit animated shows like Baahubali: The Lost Legends; Chakra the Invincible; and The Legend of Hanuman.
Graphic India’s short-form video formatted Audio Comics and Motion Comics has already broken over 200 million cumulative views across third-party platforms in India, proving the growing demand for digital comics.
Devarajan brings decades of character entertainment experience to the startup and is also an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, where he has been teaching on AI, AR, VR and the Metaverse for over seven years, making him an early business school professor focused on the metaverse and its potential to disrupt media and society. Graphic India is also the first creator to launch NFTs based on Indian characters.
In December of last year through Graphic India, he partnered with leading NFT entertainment company, Orange Comet, to launch the “Chakraverse” collection, based on the Indian superhero Chakra the Invincible.
The collection was launched with GaurdianLink on Beyondlife.club and resulted in the most successful US-India NFT sale in history, selling out of over 12,000 digital collectibles, with each drop sold in less than 1-minute after being available. People from 14 countries participated in the auction, with 22 percent of the audience residing in India – showing the potential for digital character entertainment collectibles in India.