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Brand Capital backs local search engine Infoline.in

Ahmedabad-based local search service and media company Infoline.in Pvt Ltd (IPL) has secured Rs 6.5 crore ($1.15 million) from Brand Capital, ad-for-equity private investment arm of media giant Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL).

BCCL, which has publications such as The Times of India, Femina and operates various broadcast properties, runs its digital business through Times Internet, but this transaction has been routed through its private investment unit. Brand Capital typically swaps stakes in small consumer facing companies with ads for the group's media properties.

Infoline.in is both B2B and B2C local search service that connects consumers and merchants by providing information such as user reviews from the company’s database of local businesses, products and services. It has a multi-platform functionality -- telephone (voice), internet, mobile internet and SMS.

The firm has offices in several cities in Gujarat besides Pune, Mumbai and Chennai. The company plans to expand to other metro cities now. It is looking to get more investors on board as it seeks to expand to new markets.

The two-year firm is promoted by OP Jain and TS Jain, co-promoters of Citizen Group. The duo were initially involved in textile business and later got into finance and investment sector.

They moved into IT space in 1997 in association with A & M Communication Pvt. Ltd. to launch local search service over the phone in Ahmedabad. Then they launched Yellow Pages in 2001.

It is learnt that the investment in Infoline.in (not related to India Infoline which is backed by BCCL) has been made through convertible instruments.

Ahmedabad-based Vivro Financial Services was the exclusive adviser to Infoline in this deal.

Local search business is dominated by Just Dial.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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