BeaconsTalk Technologies Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based startup that runs a proximity marketing ad platform, has raised a pre-Series A round of funding, co-founder Vinay Hinge told VCCircle.
The round was led by Rajeev Agrawal, co-founder of Ambit Pragma Ventures; and Prashant Gooty, a senior executive with an advisory firm. They invested in their personal capacity, Hinge said. He didn’t share the funding amount but confirmed that it was under $100,000 (Rs 66 lakh).
The firm had earlier raised angel funding from Puneet Bhatia, co-founder of Capitedge and former head of investments at Shapoorji Pallonji, and three others.
The startup was founded in June last year by Hinge, Ashish Kumar and an investment banker who doesn’t wish to be named. Hinge is an ex-Raymond executive who runs his own consulting firm focused on retail industry technology. Kumar is a serial entrepreneur who founded a content company called Spiral 9 and The Mumbai Deli restaurant in Mumbai.
The Internet of Things platform offers contextual mobile advertising in India. It harnesses the capability of GPS, WiFi, Beacon Bluetooth low energy devices and NFC sensors to help clients to identify, engage and contextually communicate with mobile users before or while making purchase decisions.
How the platform works
The platform works similar to traditional ad platforms wherein advertisers set up campaigns that are delivered through third-party apps. But with BeaconsTalk, advertising is triggered by the proximity to its sensors. This gives advertisers more accuracy and efficiency in their ad spends, claimed Hinge.
BeaconsTalk deploys sensors in a mall or retail and food and beverages outlets to collect the precise location and information about shoppers to help brands offer targeted advertising. It has also tied up with 11 apps which get access to the BeaconsTalk server where shoppers’ information gets stored.
Sensors collect information and location of shoppers who have BeaconsTalk’s partner app (third-party apps that already have access to the user’s location) installed on their phone.
For instance, if a person is near the handbag section of a department store, the sensors will give that information to advertisers who can reach out to the consumer through push messages or notification. This will enable brands to push offers on handbags to the shopper.
Revenue model and plans
The BeaconsTalk platform runs on a subscription-model. It will use the funds raised in its pre-Series A round to hire business development and engineering staff in the cities it is planning to enter. It will also use the funds for product development and creating a mall marketing platform.
The company, which is currently present in Mumbai and Bangalore, is looking to enter Gurgaon, Pune and Hyderabad in the next three months.
It counts Godrej Nature’s Basket, Burger King, Reliance Brands (Diesel Jeans), Tego Fit, one shopping mall and 93 food and beverages outlets as its clients.
“By the end of June, we will have six malls on our platform. We are also in talks with some big restaurant chains and aim to have around 500 restaurants on our platform by 2016 end,” Hinge said.
It has already deployed 1,500 sensors and is targeting to grow this six-fold to around 10,000 sensors by October.