Watch out, TikTok. AI-powered music video app Triller has announced a $28 million Series B funding round led by Hollywood production company Proxima Media — all part of a plan for “overtaking” its China-based competitor, according to a press release.
The four-year-old startup, where users create and share short music videos using the app’s library of music, also claims to have “grown 500 percent organically year-over-year,” with 13 million active monthly users and 60 million total downloads. Triller recently acquired and integrated music and video editing platform MashTraxx to offer more features to its creators — whom Triller says spend over an hour per day on the app, on average, while regular users spend 20 minutes per day scrolling.
The new funds will fuel product enhancement and expansion across the globe.
“Triller prioritizes creators, allowing them to showcase their work and connect with their audiences through the universal language of music,” said Triller CEO Mike Lu. “This funding round reflects broad support from savvy, successful investors that appreciate our relentless focus on artist discovery and continuous expansion of Triller’s groundbreaking AI technology. Proxima Media’s team and expertise give us access to unparalleled content and IP.”
Notably, ?Proxima Media was founded by film production legend Ryan Kavanaugh, who is responsible for more than 200 films including The Fast and the Furious, The Social Network and Mamma Mia! As part of the transaction, Proxima Media partner Bobby Sarnevesht will come on board as executive chairman of Triller. Silicon Valley vet Mahi de Silva is also named as an investor, and will assume the role of chairman.
Triller now has 40 employees, according to a representative for the company, up from two employees in 2017.
The announcement appears to take numerous shots at TikTok — and Triller knows where it hurts. Triller touts music licensing partnerships with the three majors; TikTok has run into trouble on that front. The announcement even claims that Lil Nas X credits Triller as “the platform that helped launch ‘Old Town Road,'” not TikTok.
“Triller has a created a vibrant community bringing together creators, artists, license holders, labels, and consumers, to foster and encourage large-scale consumption and monetization, for all involved parties, of music around the world, unlike competitors like TikTok,” said de Silva. “As a U.S company, Triller is laser-focused on the protection of our community from the prying eyes of nefarious parties or political agendas which has been a clear issue among our competitors.”
Triller still has some catching up to do. TikTok surpassed 1 billion downloads — and over 100 million in the United States — in May, according to analytics company Sensor Tower. And in June, TikTok parent company ByteDance claimed to have surpassed more than one billion monthly active users across its apps.