Hepmil Media Group has raised a USD 10 million Series A round led by Quest Ventures, Pavilion Capital, and digital media company Bent Pixels.
In late 2019, Hepmil pivoted from publishing content to become a platform that now works with 300 content creators in four countries in Southeast Asia—Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It partners with content creators who have established sizable followings on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube and connects them with corporate clients. At the moment, Hepmil’s network of creators generates more than 3 billion views each month.
Compared to similar programs, like TikTok’s own Creator Marketplace that links up global and local brands with TikTok users who create content professionally, Hepmil offers deep localization and direction on how to work with brands, professionalizing the process of engaging target audiences.
Founders Karl Mak and Adrian Ang also see e-sports as an important vertical for Hepmil as the company develops new business. They specifically referenced FaZe Clan, the Los Angeles-based e-sports and entertainment organization that originated as a Call of Duty clan of three players in 2010 and now has 8.69 million subscribers on YouTube.
Hepmil’s founders recognize the same patterns of development in Southeast Asia’s pro gamers, who can fill arenas with e-sports fans but have yet to monetize at the same level as popular American and European video game influencers. Mak and Ang believe Hepmil can be part of the process to bring about Southeast Asia’s next major video game influencers.
Hepmil’s new phase of growth comes nearly two years after Mak and Ang experienced uncertainty regarding their company’s trajectory when the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread throughout Southeast Asia. But they observed that many brands were earmarking substantial budgets for various types of content to engage consumers, and Hepmil subsequently benefited from a pandemic bump in business.
Mak and Ang believe in the “decentralization of media,” where many creators produce a range of content for mass consumption, rather than production power being concentrated with a few massive stakeholders.
With its fresh funds, Hepmil plans to double its headcount to 200 team members. The two co-founders said recruitment for data analytics professionals is particularly crucial, as their company aims to assist creators with succeeding on various platforms, under different content recommendation algorithms. In particular, the founders expect growth in Indonesia and the Philippines to be critical drivers in the company’s overall development. Hepmil formed an exclusive partnership with EVOS Esports in Indonesia earlier this year, marking its entry into the country.
The funds will also go toward the creation of Bent Pixels Asia Private Limited, a joint venture between Hepmil Media Group and Bent Pixels in the Asia Pacific region. Bent Pixels works with e-sports teams and lifestyle creators, connecting them with media companies and brands.
Hepmil Media Group started as a Facebook page—SGAG—in 2011. The company is headquartered in Singapore and has been profitable since it was established.