Content marketplace Pepper lands $14.3 million funding to expand to US

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Pepper Content, a content marketplace that connects global brands such as Google, Meta, Amazon and Adobe with over 100,000 creators, has raised $14.3 million in a new financing round as it looks to expand to the U.S.

Bessemer Venture Partners led the Indian startup’s Series A funding round. Tanglin Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Titan Capital and angel investors, such as Gokul Rajaram, Ritesh Agarwal, Abhinav Sinha, Ankur Nagpal, Dheeraj Pandey, Ashish Gupta and Kunal Shah also participated in the new round, which brings the startup's all-time raise to about $19 million.

Pepper Content helps enterprises identify and work with vetted professionals for their content marketing needs.

Anirudh Singla, co-founder and chief executive of Pepper Content, started the firm in his college dorm room when he was studying at BITS Pilani. Singla identified the whitespace when he was looking to earn some passive income to support his education, he said in an interview with TechCrunch.

"As a creator, I was creating for just 30 to 40% of the time. I was spending the rest of the time bidding pricing that was ridiculously low,” he said.

The incumbent platforms were not tailor-made with local nuances, but Singla said it was clear that there was a huge demand for content as the arrival of telecom operator Jio Platforms, which undercut rivals with cheap mobile data tariffs, had suddenly expanded the market by hundreds of millions of users who were waiting to be served.

Pepper says creators on its platform have to go through rigorous tests and vetting processes, a factor that has helped the startup improve and retain the quality of talent it provides to customers. The enterprises that have used Pepper keep coming back with more work, Singla said.

And the list of enterprise customers has also ballooned in recent quarters, he said. Pepper Content works with over 2,500 customers, including startups such as CRED and Groww, and over 1,000 enterprises that includes Big Tech as well as Adani Enterprises, Hindustan Unilever, HDFC Bank, Tata Capital and Binance.

“We want to make this platform a superpower for brands and creators alike. The last talent revolution that came out of India was Infosys, TCS for tech talent in the 1990s. Pepper Content is here to unleash the next one by enabling high-quality creative and marketing talent to get access to global opportunities,” said Rishabh Shekhar, co-founder and chief operating officer of Pepper.

The startup is clocking 8 million in annualized revenue and plans to expand to the U.S. in the next few weeks, Singla said. Pepper has also expanded its services to include video content, graphic design, and language translations work in recent quarters.

"Pepper's value proposition to be the scale-out partner to enterprises globally for high quality, on-demand and on-budget content production has really found its mark. In addition, we believe Pepper's SaaS offering to help creators and enterprises to create, collaborate and drive content operations has found strong market resonance in the US and globally,” said Dev Khare, partner at Lightspeed India, in a statement.

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