SMS GupShup, a mobile group SMS service platform, has raised $12 million in Series D round led by venture capital firm US-based Globespan Capital Partners. The existing investors Charles River Ventures and Helion Venture Partners have also participated in this round.
The company plans to utilise the funding for global expansion, starting with emerging markets that have a high mobile adoption, said a company statement. Apart from expanding into new territories, it also plans to roll out new features such as mobile CRM solutions for small businesses and corporate brands.
Venky Ganesan, managing director of Globespan Capital Partners, will join the SMS GupShup board. Globespan has over $1 billion under management and invests in information technology and cleantech companies. SMS GupShup will be its debut investment in India. Globespan has seen a couple of exits in last few months in the US with its portfolio company Quattro Wireless, a mobile ad network, being acquired by Apple. Another one of its firms, VoIP startup Jajah, was acquired by telecom major Telefonica.
SMS GupShup is a mobile group SMS service that allows users to create mobile communities and broadcast messages to them. It is one of the group companies of Webaroo Inc, an offline mobile search service provider in the US.
“We expect to use the proceeds from this funding round to accelerate our growth and expand our operations globally, to make our products useful to each of the 4 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. We see strong interest from carriers worldwide,” Beerud Sheth, co-founder and CEO, SMS GupShup said in the statement.
The company has so far raised $37 million in funding. It has raised $11 million in Series A funding from Helion Ventures and Charles River Ventures (CRV) in 2008. Since its launch in 2007, SMSGupShup has expanded its user base to around 26 million in over 2 million SMS communities in categories ranging from finance, entertainment, business, news, education, spiritual and health. It claims that the company saw 100% growth in user base in the last six months, and accounts for 5% of all text messages sent in India.