Filipino live-streaming app Kumu announced that it closed a Series B funding round to roll out new app features and scale its operations.

The Kumu Team

The round closed less than 12 months after the company announced its Series A in April 2020. In that time, and in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, Kumu has topped the Google Play rankings in the Philippines, with users spending almost an hour per day on the app. The funding amount is undisclosed, although DealStreet Asia reported in March this year that Kumu was targeting a $15 million Series B fundraise after raising $4 to 5 million in its Series A.

Kumu will use the new infusion to scale its current operations, which have seen significant growth over the past year. To date, an estimated 11.2 million registered users around the world watch live streams up to 60 million times per month, with over 100,000 active streamers commanding about one hour of average daily usage for its mostly Gen-Z & Millennial user base.

The startup is also experiencing significant revenue growth. According to mobile-app performance company App Annie, Kumu has been listed as the #1 Top Grossing social app in the Philippines’ Google Play Store, as well as the first Filipino-founded app to rank Top 10 in multiple markets like Canada, Australia, Norway, Hong Kong, and Kuwait. Kumu has also ranked as high as #15 in the United States.

Content, community, and social connections

Kumu cites the intersection of unique content, strong creator engagement, and an active, wholesome community that propels social connections as having contributed to its growth.

“Our success lies in our ability to focus on Kumu partners and users, connecting them in creative ways,” says Angelo Mendez, Co-Founder and Chief of Content of Kumu, in a statement shared with TechNode Global. Mendez led the company’s partnership with the latest season of leading local reality show Pinoy Big Brother.

The Series B was co-led by SIG, a global investment organization best known for its seed investment and large institutional shareholding in Bytedance. The round was also co-led by Openspace Ventures. “Kumu is a much-needed addition to the local media landscape and has democratized content distribution in the Philippines. Our continued support for the company is also a reflection of our strong conviction that the Philippines is at the cusp of a big technological wave,” says Hian Goh, Co-Founder and Partner at Openspace Ventures.

Other investors in Kumu’s Series B include returning investors Summit Media, Kickstart Ventures (the corporate VC firm of Globe Telecom), Foxmont Capital Partners, and Gobi-Core Philippine Fund. Joining them were new investors Gentree Fund, the venture vehicle for a prominent Filipino family office behind one of the country’s leading consumer-focused conglomerates; and Endeavor Catalyst Fund, the co-investment fund of global nonprofit Endeavor. Notably, the chairman of the Endeavor Catalyst Fund is Reid Hoffman, the Founder of social network platform LinkedIn.

“We are thrilled to back [the Kumu team] as we see a huge opportunity for growth in the livestreaming space,” remarks Linda Rottenberg, CEO of Endeavor Global. “We believe Kumu will be a multi-billion dollar company someday, and will serve as a tremendous example for other aspiring entrepreneurs in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.”

“At our core, we are a scrappy and ambitious team,” says Dana de la Vega, Strategy Director of Kumu. “Looking ahead, we’re excited to dream even bigger alongside our partners and investors, to further push the boundaries in content creation, and to build the most engaged ‘glokal’ Filipino community on the Internet.”

On a growth trajectory with high-profile hires

Recently, Kumu also announced that Crystal Widjaja, former Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President of Growth at Gojek, joined the company as its Chief Product Officer. Widjaja joined Gojek as its first technical data hire and helped grow Gojek from a Series B startup to a decacorn. As SVP of Growth and Business Intelligence, she led the team of engineers, analysts, and product managers responsible for growing from 30,000 to over 5 million orders per day. In the process, Gojek transformed from a call center to a super app at the heart of Indonesia’s largest technology company.

Widjaja is currently Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Reforge, an educational program for product and growth practitioners founded by Brian Balfour, ex-VP of Growth at Hubspot. She is also passionate about providing young women with access to STEM through the non-profit Generation Girl.

This comes at the heels of another high-profile hire. In May, the company also announced the appointment of its Chief Growth Officer Alex Tshering, the former Senior Vice President of FIGS, where he grew the company to a $5 billion apparel brand that recently held its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Mark Velasquez, former Director at ING Philippines and Vice President at Credit Suisse, also joined in April as Kumu’s CFO.

Editor’s note: This article was updated with information about Kumu’s recent executive hires.