Maya Digital Studios (MDS),the company that pioneered the art & technology of animation & visual effects in India and is also a leading 2D to stereoscopic 3D conversion studio; is in the process of raising a $10-million (or approximately Rs 63 crore) private equity fund to support its growth plans.
Ketan Mehta founded Maya Digital Studios in 1996. The company sold its education division MAAC (Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics) to Aptech for Rs 100 crore in 2010 and gave a profitable exit to initial investors like Intel Corporation and Enam. In February 2011, Bollywood film makerSubhashGhai-promoted Mukta Arts picked up a strategic minority stake in Maya digital Studios. In 2012, Maya Digital Studiosalso started yet another ‘industry first’ initiative MIST (Maya In-studio training), where young animation, VFX & 3D stereoscopy professionals undergo fresher and advanced training based on a Studio Ready Training Modules.
The company, which currently has a studio each in Mumbai, Goa and Bangalore, proposes to utilize the funds to increase its capacity and expand into new areas like gaming. They also plan to create an animation film fund that would aim at international co-production with Indian partners, besides augmenting its intellectual property (IP) base.
“Talks with private equity players are already in place. We expect to seal the deal with one of them within the next quarter. We intend to have at least five studios in India in the first financial year after receiving the PE fund. Setting up a gaming studio in Hyderabad is also a possibility, given the distinct advantages it offers including a large pool of talent,” said Ketan Mehta, chairman, Maya Digital Studio.“The company would double its resources to 600 people immediately with further scope to expand to 800 in a year from now”, he further added.
Stating that international TV channels, who now have a stronghold in the Indian market, has started realising the need for domestic content to reach out to their audience, Mr. Ketan Mehta said“the demand for local content was growing rapidly vis-a-vis international programming”. Maya Digital Studio has so far delivered three seasons (each comprising 26, 22-minute episodes) of Motu-Patlu, a 3D animation series based on LotPot Comics, to Nickelodeon channel. “With Motu-Paltu series becoming a visible franchise, I think this will grow into a 3D-animated theatrical feature, which will happen next year. The investments for such movies could vary from Rs 30 crore to Rs 40 crore, depending on the duration and the script,” Mehta said.
Maya Digital Studiois expecting to double its revenues, from the present Rs 20 crore, each year for the next three years.