afaqs secures under $3M from Seedfund in its third round of funding

Seedfund, an early-stage venture capital fund, has invested under $3 million in Banyan Netfaqs Pvt Ltd, the company that owns and operates afaqs, an advertising, media and marketing portal and The Mobile Indian, a mobile/telecom portal.

This is Seedfund’s second investment in the company. The fund had earlier invested an undisclosed amount in the company in October 2007. Prior to that, the company had received an undisclosed amount from Infinity Ventures in 2000.

Post this investment, Seedfund now holds significant minority stake in the company.

“The funds raised will primarily be used to further build The Mobile Indian brand both online as well as offline. It will also be used to launch three new sites focused on the special interest space. The first one will be a lifestyle content site that will be launched in the next four months, the second one by the end of next year and the third one will be launched early next year,” Sreekant Khandekar, co-founder and director, Banyan Netfaqs told VCCircle.

The Noida-based company was founded in 1998-99 by Khandekar (director) and advertising professional Sandeep Vij (director). The company owns and operates afaqs (originally agencyfaqs, the site was rebranded afaqs in May 2008), The Mobile Indian (earlier known as Telecom Yatra) and , a professional networking site for the advertising, marketing and media community.

The company had also launched a print magazine called ‘afaqs Reporter’ that captures news in advertising, media and marketing every fortnight. Started as a typical garage startup, the company now employs around 100 people, and has offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Also, Vij, who had joined Mudra Communications as president, has joined the company full time now.

“We are quite bullish about how The Mobile Indian has shaped up and we are also excited about the new verticals that will be launched in the coming months. In addition to that, the team at BNPL has been able to demonstrate online sales effectively, and the events part is also picking up,” said Shailesh Vikram Singh, executive director, Seedfund Advisors. He is also a board member at Banyan Netfaqs.

Seedfund, which raised $54 million for its second fund in 2011, typically seeks to invest between $0.5 million to $4 million in its portfolio companies. The fund’s investments include an undisclosed amount (June 2012) in Bangalore-based Jeeves Consumer Services Pvt Ltd, an electronics products and appliance service provider to individual households; an undisclosed amount (April 2012) in Innoz Technologies Pvt Ltd, a mobile search platform; an undisclosed sum (Jan 2012) to acquire a significant minority stake in, a fashion apparel and accessories e-commerce brand owned by Delhi-based startup Intuitent Online Venture Pvt Ltd.

It has also backed portfolio companies like Pilani Soft Labs Pvt Ltd (it runs the online bus ticketing site and Vaatsalya Healthcare Solutions Pvt Ltd besides making a new investment in the Mumbai-based startup Nevales Networks, which provides network security support services to SMEs on the cloud.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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