Dashtoon raises $5M led by Matrix Partners India and Stellaris Venture Partners

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San Francisco, California and London, UK, November 2, 2023: San Francisco and London based Dashtoon raised $5 million in a seed round led by Matrix Partners India and Stellaris Venture Partners with participation from prominent angel investors. The funds will enable Dashtoon to deepen its AI research, progress product development, and content production in the coming months.

Dashtoon Studio, the first of its kind, guarantees unparalleled character consistency, fine control over image composition, and streamlined comic creation workflows. This state-of-the-art platform provides creators access to an extensive character library and the capability to train and monetize their unique characters, enabling the production of professional-quality, engaging content ready for global consumption.

A vibrant creator economy for the comics ecosystem exists in markets like Japan and Southeast Asia but not so much in the other parts of the world. Consequently, Japanese Manga and Korean Webtoons have now ascended to the forefront, asserting their dominance over the global comics market while nurturing billion-dollar IPs - replicated into multiple formats like games, movies, TV series, etc. Beyond storytelling, till now, comic creation required hard skills like sketching, coloring, lettering, etc., thus creating an entry barrier for this medium. The current creator ecosystems were built over decades, and it wasn’t possible to replicate them in other parts of the world. But now, with Dashtoon, any storyteller, from published author to aspiring writer, in any part of the world, can effortlessly create, distribute, and monetize their comics and graphic novels - the age of democratization.

Lalith and Sanidhya were both part of the founding team of audio entertainment startup Pocket FM and were instrumental in building and growing the product in the US. Soumyadeep has built and scaled deep-tech teams at various startups including solving for cancer diagnosis at Morphle Labs.

"Content businesses have largely capitalized on technology for distribution. We at Dashtoon believe it's time to bring that technological edge to content creation itself. Generative AI will not only level the playing field for storytellers worldwide but will also meet the diverse tastes of global consumers.” said Sanidhya Narain, CEO and Co-founder, Dashtoon.

“With Dashtoon Studio, any storyteller, regardless of their artistic skills or technical knowledge, can create digital comics, breaking traditional barriers in illustrated content creation. Our vision is to become a global IP powerhouse by marrying thousands of creators with millions of readers.” said Soumyadeep Mukherjee, CTO and Co-founder, Dashtoon.

“Dashtoon’s mission is to create a world where the art of comic creation is as widespread and culturally ingrained as it is in places like Japan and Korea.” said Lalith Gudipati, COO and Co-founder, Dashtoon. “We are thrilled to pioneer a movement that integrates technology and creativity, bringing forth a global creative renaissance in digital comics.”

Aakash Kumar, Managing Director, Matrix Partners India said, “Over several decades content distribution has gone through a phase shift driven by technology, yet we have seen little on the front of content creation being disrupted. In the coming years, the business of content will undergo many transformations and the most important of those is going to be creation getting democratized and boundaries between PGC and UGC getting blurred, and content choices for consumers growing multifold and becoming extensively personalized. We are excited to be partnering with Dashtoon team on their journey to shape this future vision of content.”

Naman Lahoty, Principal, Stellaris Venture Partners added, "Content consumption on mobile phones has grown exponentially in the US, from an average of 45 minutes per day in 2011 to a staggering 4 hours per day in 2021. This surge has been fueled by the emergence of new and diverse content formats like short-form videos, audio OTT, podcasts, and casual games that have captivated consumers. Looking ahead, we anticipate that webcomics will emerge as the next wave of growth. As pioneers in this domain, Dashtoon is poised to lead the charge with the founders possessing a perfect mix of content, tech and global user acquisition experience and skills required to build this business."

With GenAI, the comic book industry has become a greenfield market. Smartphones will become even smarter and more powerful, and the creation will come to mobile devices. This will lead to constant innovations and new formats with a bustling creator-consumer economy, and Dashtoon aims to be at the forefront of it.

About Dashtoon:
Dashtoon is a revolutionary platform that leverages Generative AI technology to enable storytellers worldwide to create illustrated content with unprecedented ease and speed. Dashtoon is curating the best stories globally and visualizing them into comics and graphic novels. Users can discover dazzling universes soaring beyond superheroes and clichés! A realm awaits. It’s as if Manga and HBO teamed up to craft spellbinding comics. For more information, please visit https://dashtoon.com/ or follow via LinkedIn, X, Instagram, or YouTube.

About Matrix Partners India:

Founded in 2006, Matrix Partners India invests in companies targeting the consumer and enterprise market at the seed, early and early growth stages. The firm has invested in several enterprise technology companies such as MoEngage (Customer engagement platform), Toddle (Teaching & learning platform), SuperOps.ai (AI-powered PSA-RMM platform), Rocketlane (Customer onboarding platform), Murf AI (Synthetic speech technology), 100ms (Live video infrastructure) and Atomicwork (Employee success solution) amongst others. Other marquee investments include Dailyhunt (Local language platform), Five Star Business Finance (SME lending), OfBusiness (B2B commerce, fintech), Ola (Mobility), Ola Electric (Electric vehicles), OneCard (Mobile-first credit card), Oxyzo (Tech-enabled smart financing), Razorpay (Payments), Country Delight (D2C dairy & fresh foods brand), GoKwik (E-commerce enablement platform), Jupiter (Neobank), and Mosaic Wellness (Health & wellness), among others. Matrix Partners India has advisory offices in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. Further information is available at www.matrixpartners.in. To know more about our investment philosophy & ideologies, check out the #MatrixMoments podcast series.