Crowdfunding platform DesiredWings buys peer Catapooolt
Photo Credit: Mukul Mudgal/VCCircle

Reward-based crowdfunding platform has acquired crowdfunding and community engagement platform Catapooolt for an undisclosed amount.

Following the acquisition, both the brands will continue to operate as separate entities focussing on different segments of the crowdfunding industry, DesiredWings said in a statement.

“We have secured the leadership position in the industry [with the acquisition] and now with the combined strength of both the brands, we can grow faster,” Shabir Momin, co-founder of DesiredWings, said.

Owned and operated by Starting Blocks Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai-based Catapooolt was founded in July 2013 by Satish Kataria. It caters to sectors like sports, politics and social enterprises, apart from startups.

Catapooolt had raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from VentureNursery Angels in April 2014. The round also saw participation from: ah! Angels, the angel network of CLUB ah!; Calcutta Angels; and a group of industry professionals, including Utkarsh Singh (former marketing director with Indian Premier League), Shiladitya Bora (head, PVR Directors’ Rare), and Ajay Chandwani (director, Percept H).

It claims to have funded over 70 projects, raising more than Rs 150 crore from over 4,000 contributors.

DesiredWings is a category-agnostic platform facilitating business idea validation and development, apart from helping startups pre-fund their future products and services.

The crowdfunding segment has grown considerably in advanced economies. According to an estimate by World Bank, crowdfunding investments are estimated to touch $90 billion by the end of 2017 in the US alone. But the space is still nascent in India—most online crowdfunding platforms in the country have come up in the last 2-3 years.

In January this year, Mumbai-based crowdfunding platform for creative artists Wishberry raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding led by iSPIRT’s Sharad Sharma. In April 2016, crowdfunding startup Impact Guru had secured $500,000 (Rs 3.3 crore) in seed funding from Singapore-based venture capital firm RB Investments and Fundnel, a Southeast Asia-based private investment platform.

In January 2016, crowdfunding platform BitGiving had raised an undisclosed amount from Wazir Advisors founder and managing director Harminder Sahni, Capillary Technologies co-founder Krishna Mehra and Impulse Marketing’s co-founder Sanjay Bakshi, among others.

Last year, capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) warned investors against online crowdfunding platforms. In its notice, SEBI said that a few electronic platforms were facilitating fundraising on digital platforms that are “similar to the platforms of stock exchanges”. The notice put a question mark on the very existence of crowdfunding platforms in the country.

"These digital platforms are neither authorised nor recognised under any law governing the securities market. Investors are hereby cautioned that all dealings on such unauthorised electronic platforms would be in contravention of the relevant securities laws,” the notice said.

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