Bharti Airtel, one of India’s largest telecommunications service providers, announced today, 4 December, that it has acquired a strategic stake in Juggernaut Books, a popular digital platform to discover and read high quality, affordable books and to submit amateur writing. Airtel made this investment through its wholly owned subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure Investments Limited.
The investment is in line with Airtel's endeavour to build an open content ecosystem and bring world class digital content to its customers, the telecom service provider said. The investment from Airtel, according to the publisher, will enable Juggernaut to ramp up content acquisition and digital marketing and prepare for a subscription offering launch in the next few months.
Badal Bagri, chief financial officer, Bharti Airtel said, "Juggernaut is an exciting digital platform and complements our content vision. We look forward to working with them and supporting the next phase of their growth journey."
Juggernaut's former investors include Infosys cofounder and current chairman, Nandan Nilekani and Boston Consulting Group India CEO Neeraj Aggarwal. Launched in April 2016, the platform has close to 1 million downloads across Android and iOS.
Speaking of the fund raise, Chiki Sarkar, founder and publisher, Juggernaut Books, said, "We are excited to partner with Airtel in our journey ahead. Airtel has a great understanding of digital content consumption and we have much to learn and benefit from this strategic partnership".
In May 2017, the writer's platform went live to offer amateur writers an opportunity to digitally publish their content and stand a chance to win publishing contracts. The writer's platform in the past six months has received just under 500 stories with nine of them securing publishing contracts.
"Our ambition is to get many more Indians to read and write, and our partnership with Airtel will allow us to expand our distribution manifold," added Simran Khara, CEO, Juggernaut Books.
Focused on the growing smartphone usage in India, Juggernaut's catalogue of over 5000 books is powered by authors including Twinkle Khanna, Arundhati Roy, William Dalrymple, Rujuta Diwekar, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose and Sunny Leone.