POPxo is one of the largest digital communities for women focused towards creating a safe and empowering space for their readers. They boast a total of 43 million active users and 250 partner brands. Since its inception, they have launched three new verticals Plixxo - an influencer marketing platform, POPxo Shop - a private label for millennial women and Luxeva - a digital platform for all things luxury. In an exclusive conversation with Ms. Priyanka Gill, Founder and CEO, POPxo we discuss their journey as a licensee. Talk to us about the inception and journey of POPxo. How did you think of venturing in licensing? We were early to spot an opportunity in digital media in India and focused on creating a safe-from-judgment space for women online. There were some women-centric magazines but they barely had any online presence. There were many sceptics when we launched POPxo in 2014. Today, POPxo is India’s largest digital community for millennial women and has an unrivalled advantage in the space. We started building and promoting content that helped women become better in all aspects of their life, be it fashion, beauty, work or relationships. We used social media to reach out to our target audience and engage with them. Today, POPxo has over 42 million MAUs (monthly active users) across all platforms. Every month, the team creates over 2500 stories, 80 videos resulting in users spending millions of hours consuming POPxo content. Being the Founder & CEO of Luxeva Limited, the media-tech company behind three of India’s biggest digital brands: POPxo, Plixxo and Luxeva, I have been fortunate enough to have a strong team of ambitious and opinionated women around me since the very beginning of this venture. From a team of 3, we are now a family of 180+ in just 5 years. We have raised a total of $11m in funding to date. The last investment round was led by Neoplux and OPPO, with participation from existing investors Kalaari Capital, Chiratae Ventures, Summit Media, and GREE Ventures. Licensing helps cater to a highly diversified market and merchandising helps to expand the scope of the IPs and tap the potential customer-base of more 1.3 billion in India today. Earlier, the owners of home-grown brands had limited their focus to core functions but today, licensing con help extend our brand visibility. According to you, what are the factors propelling growth in licensing and merchandising (L&M) market in India? In India, the penetration of licensing and merchandising (L&M) is set to grow manifold in the foreseeable future due to:
- Rising brand consciousness among consumers and higher penetration of modern retail and e-commerce.
- To tap the 1.3 billion customer-base in the country, especially when awareness of brands among consumers in cities is very high
- Advancements in technology and expanding marketplaces have also been key to successful licensing programs recently.
Elaborate about the recent deal for Cartoon Network. What made you zero down for this IP? Also shed light on entering categories and distribution touch points for licensed range? We narrowed down to Cartoon Network solely on the basis of Power Puff Girls collection. The Powerpuff Girls franchise has inspired generations of young women. At its core, the series celebrates female strength which fits seamlessly with POPxo’s values. Through this, we look forward to offering our audiences an exclusive collection of sweatshirts, hoodies, t-shirts, phone covers, diaries and wall clocks. Needless to say, they also thought that we were the right brand to represent PowperPuff Girls as we are a women only platform. How do you see licensing as an effective expansion strategy? Licensing is an effective strategy especially in the major metros – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru, as they are the most active in buying merchandise. This is because licensees have stronger distribution networks in these prime areas. Though, the offline market still dominate in the country, e-commerce nowadays are playing a crucial role in making these products available to consumers across India. What was the rationale behind venturing into retail space with this collaboration? We collaborated with Cartoon Network on The Powerpuff Girls franchise as it has inspired generations of young women! At its core, the series celebrates female strength which fits seamlessly with POPxo’s values. POPxo perfectly suites the reach of India’s passionate and fashion-conscious youngsters, and we think the range will really appeal to our superfans. Also shed light on your price points for licensed line? Our range of offering includes an exclusive collection of sweatshirts, hoodies, t-shirts, phone covers, diaries, doormats and wall clocks. The collection starts from INR 399 onwards for phone covers, INR 499 onwards for notebooks, INR 399 onwards for table clocks, INR 999 onwards for wall clocks and INR 1,799 onwards for bagpacks. Check out the entire collection here. What are plans to grow your licensed product portfolio? Which other licensors/ IPs would be of your interests? Licensing is a great way to drive our narrative of content to commerce. We have always looked and partnered with brands which connects with our user base. Power Puff as a collection has really worked for us online and hence we entered the offline space as well. Taking this as a testament, we will try and focus on women centric characters because power puff really worked for us.