As reported by Sharanya Pillai in The Business Times, here:

GOPLAY, the video streaming service under Indonesia’s Gojek, has clinched an undisclosed investment led by Singapore’s Golden Gate Ventures and Chinese investment firm ZWC Partners, marking the startup’s first capital raise independent of its ride-hailing parent.

GoPlay announced the funding round in a press release on Monday morning, but declined to disclose the sum raised. In an earlier report on Friday, news outlet DealStreetAsia put the figure at about US$15 million, citing industry sources. The Business Times (BT) understands that Gojek is still the majority owner of GoPlay.

While many media startups in South-east Asia have tapped venture funding to chase regional growth, GoPlay plans to use the fresh capital to double down on Indonesia, its chief executive Edy Sulistyo told BT in an interview.

With this localisation strategy, he believes that GoPlay can succeed where other regional video streaming services have struggled. The startup’s funding round follows the recent liquidation of Singtel-backed streaming service Hooq, as well as reported layoffs at Malaysia’s iflix in April.

Explaining the decision to focus on a single market, Mr Sulistyo said: “We are always open-minded, but at this point, we still have a lot of homework (to do). We have 270 million people in Indonesia and the film industry here is still at its beginning. We need to be able to tap the market potential. Until that’s done, we want to focus more on Indonesia first.”

Gojek’s early backer Openspace Ventures also joined the funding round for GoPlay. The venture firm is helmed by Hian Goh, the co-founder of the Asian Food Channel, which was sold to a US network in 2013 for US$66 million.

Other investors in GoPlay include Indonesian media firm Ideosource Entertainment, and Redbadge Pacific, the regional arm of US-based family office Redbadge.

When asked why Openspace supports the separation of GoPlay from Gojek in raising funds, Mr Goh pointed to the benefits of having a separate investment vehicle to attract more specialised investors. At the same time, GoPlay can still reap synergies from Gojek’s other super-app offerings, such as its payments service.

“I think that media businesses need a very unique, specific set of investors to understand them… It’s really just about separating the two so that there is an investment vehicle, and incentivising the (GoPlay) team so that they are very focused on that opportunity,” Mr Goh said.

For lead investor Golden Gate Ventures, the key draw of GoPlay is its focus on quality local content in Indonesia, the venture firm’s managing partner Vinnie Lauria told BT.

“Golden Gate Ventures has been closely monitoring this space before Covid-19, but now with the lockdowns, it’s really accelerated our predictions of users wanting more localised mobile content,” he said.

Mr Lauria added: “The traditional media and cable television companies may produce local content, but it’s not being watched by 20-somethings and millennials; there’s a huge opportunity to fill this. And GoPlay gets the network benefits of being within the Gojek ecosystem.”

Patrick Cheung, managing partner of ZWC Partners, told BT that his firm has been studying South-east Asia’s online entertainment space for several years, and determined that GoPlay is in the best position to win where others have failed.

“We believe that the market leader for online entertainment must come from a local player. The local player knows the market, the customer and the content… The company also has a strong CEO, and many of the founding team members come from the media business,” he said, noting that some GoPlay executives were previously from Amazon and Netflix.

In GoPlay’s Monday press release, Andi Boediman, chief executive of Ideosource Entertainment, noted that GoPlay can help its parent “in acquiring new users, increasing user engagement, and retaining existing users through its quality on-demand content”.

Likewise, Jonathan Kim, founder and managing partner of Redbadge Pacific, said: “We’ve seen in our other markets like the US and Korea how powerful locally created and curated content can be on the right platforms, and with GoPlay we believe the platform will drive tremendous growth over the years to come.”