Mumbai-based instant messaging platform Flochat has raised an undisclosed amount from iSquare Global, the venture capital arm of Apex Advisors, a company executive told VCCircle.
The Flochat app allows users to connect with their social circle, and browse and share content from across apps, such as those for booking cabs, buying movie tickets, watching videos online or ordering food.
The startup will use the capital to launch its operations in Dubai and for audio and video product development, Prateek Lal, its founder, said.
“We are launching in Dubai by the end of this month as some of our investors are based out of there and are helping us in the market,” Lal added. Flochat has already partnered with companies such as e-commerce site Souq to come aboard.
Yagerbomb Media Pvt. Ltd, which runs Flochat, also raised investment from undisclosed investors a year ago. With the new round, it has secured a total of $1 million so far.
Apex Advisors DMCC is a Dubai-based boutique advisory firm that invests in startups through its fund iSquare Global.
“We personally are very excited to partner with a young team. We believe this product has the potential to disrupt the communication category first in India and soon globally,” said a spokesman from iSquare Global Fund.
In India, Flochat has partnered various firms, including food delivery service Zomato, cab-booking apps Ola and Uber, deals platforms Dineout and CouponDunia, video-sharing platform YouTube, movie-ticketing app BookMyShow, search platform Microsoft Bing, GIFs platform Tenor and rickshaw-hailing app Jugnoo.
Lal, who founded Flochat in 2015, is an MBA from Welingkar Institute of Management, and has previously worked in companies such as Yes Bank and DBS Bank.
The Flochat platform also has an inbuilt artificial intelligence chatbot called Floda, which works as a personal assistant and helps users navigate the app. The app supports multimedia messaging, including videos, images, texts, gifs, memes, and voice messages. It also supports audio filters.
“Hike is clear competition since youngsters are our target market. We don’t [consider] WhatsApp [competition] as it is used by everyone, and the new generation that is tending towards Snapchat may not be comfortable conversing there. In India, Facebook messenger is used for day-to-day communication, it is a tertiary channel to communicate, so that again is not our competition,” Lal said.
Last September, Google had launched its messaging service Allo, which came with some machine learning built in, courtesy of Google Assistant.
In June, instant messaging platform Hike launched its in-app payment wallet, which allows bank-to-bank money transfer via the government-backed unified payments interface.