TicketNew said a chance message via LinkedIn led to the transformational investment from Chinese giant Alibaba Pictures earlier this year.
Founder Nammalvar Ramkumar said Alibaba’s purchase of a majority stake in TicketNew had an immediate effect, as long-targeted partnerships with major cinema chains PVR, Inox, Carnival Cinemas and Cinepolis were signed within days.
According to sources cited by the Factor Daily website, the entertainment division of Chinese giant Alibaba Group spent $30m (£22m/€25m) on its share in TicketNew.
Ramkumar said the investment came about following an initial inquiry via social network LinkedIn, just as Alibaba was in talks over an investment in market leader BookMyShow.
“It’s a millionth of a chance for a company like us getting discovered by Alibaba and getting the investment,” Ramkumar told Factor Daily.
“The challenge is to scale. For me, scaling is not just money but strategic help and a bigger brand to associate with. This is where Alibaba investment will help. Of course, money is important too.
“It took less than 20 days to sign up the big four multiplexes in India, all of them went live with our software in a week. I have been trying to get them for years. With the funding, I can now do this and compete better.”
Ramkumar found Alibaba’s vision refreshing, not least as the Chinese company was able to look beyond BookMyShow and PayTM to see the Indian market was big enough for a number of players.
He said: “The Alibaba team looked at us differently; their understanding of the potential is very different. The VCs here need to change their mindsets, they are too fixated on a template. There’s room for more than one player.”