Pepper Content bags $14 million to take on Verbilo, 99design in the American market

  • Pepper Content has raised $14.3 million in order to expand to the US-market.
  • It currently works with 2,500 customers such as Adani Enterprises, Hindustan Unilever, P&G and others.
  • The company’s founder believes that their existing backers will make this international journey much easier given their existing network and expertise.

Content agency Pepper Content has raised a whopping $14.3 million (₹110 crore) in an attempt to expand to the US. The company currently runs its fill-stack content marketplace in India.

Pepper Content’s Series A round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners.

Tanglin Venture Partners, Lightspeed and Titan Capital also participated in the round, along with seasoned global operators like Doordash’s Gokul Rajaram, OYO’s Ritesh Agarwal and Abhinav Sinha, Teachable’s Ankur Nagpal, Nutanix’s Dheeraj Pandey, Helion.vc’s Ashish Gupta, and Shah CR.

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Choosing US was a simple decision

The company will use the proceeds from this funding to expand its international operations, particularly in the USA. Usually, companies start their international operations from the Middle East or other countries in Southeast Asia because of their similarities with the Indian market.

However, Pepper Content has decided to skip that market for exactly the same reason.

“Instead of fighting the same battle in a similar market across the world, we thought let’s just go after the biggest market because if not now, one year after we will have to go after the US. So why not start with the US, get in those bigger chunkier pieces then expand globally.”

— Rishabh Shekhar, the co-founder of Pepper Content, said in a conversation with Business Insider.

Another factor that motivated Shekhar to skip the Middle East and expand directly to the US is the “sealess acceptance” of its products during trials in the US market.

The other reason for Pepper Content to go after the US market is the ability to earn in dollars that too in a market which is more focused on quality of content rather than the price, he explained.

More services, more competition

Pepper Content — founded in 2017 by Anirudh Singla and Shekhar at the BITS Pilani campus — is a full-stack content marketplace (SaaS) that connects content creators to organizations that require content. The company claims to work with 2,500 customers such as Adani Enterprises, Hindustan Unilever, Procter & Gamble (P&G), HDFC Bank, CRED, Groww, SBI Mutual Funds. Google, Binance and Adobe.

Along with the expansion to the US market, the company has also decided to introduce fresh services like graphic design, language translations, and video content creation. The new and existing verticals would pit Pepper Content against Verbilo, Webchutney, 99design and Super Design in the US market.

“What Salesforce has done for Sales, we will do for the content ecosystem,” both Singla and Shekhar said in a statement.

Shekhar says existing investors could make its US expansion easier

Shekhar also noted that their existing backers will make this international journey much easier given their existing network and expertise. “We have got the right people. And Bessemer is really big in [the] US, so we are already in contact with the US arm,” Shekhar told Business Insider.

Investor Designation / Advantage
Bessemer Venture Partners The US-based fund had been a backer in LinkedIn, Pinterest, Shopify, Yelp and others
Tanglin Venture Partners The Singapore-based fund had invested in Jupiter, Rubeek, Open, Inshorts, Moglix
Lightspeed The US-based fund has invested in around 1,200 companies including Byju’s, OYO, ShareChat
Gokul Rajaram Product and Business Helper at Doordash, Board Member at Coinbase and Pinterest
Ritesh Agarwal CEO of global budget hotel chain OYO
Dheeraj Pandey Founder of Nutanix, Board Member at Adobe
Ashish Gupta Founder at Helion.vc, Board Member at Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL)

Source: Pepper Content, Company websites

“We firmly believe that the future of work is on-demand driven and we love the approach that Pepper is taking to build a powerful content marketing stack that helps startups and enterprises to work more strategically with expert on-demand freelance talent and enable workflows and collaboration tools to create great quality content,” Anant Vidur Puri, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, said.

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