Mumbai-based local lifestyle content and discovery platform NearFox said on Thursday it has raised funding from a group of investors that included the Globevestor Angel Fund.
Devendra Rane, CTO at online insurance startup CoverFox; Ravi Jain, former principal at VC fund Ventureast and co-founder of social media marketing firm GenY Medium; and Arpan Nagdeve, vice president of Craftsvilla Product, were among the other investors.
The company will use the proceeds to expand its team and launch its services in more cities, it said in a statement.
The startup, operated by Zip Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd, joins other event and restaurant discovery startups such as Little Black Book, TownTrot, Nearify, EventsHigh and GoYaNo in raising funds. Little Black Book raised its second round of funding in April from IDG Ventures and the Indian Angel Network.
NearFox was founded in January 2015 by IIT-Bombay alumni Kiran Patil and Pritesh Mittal. Patil previously founded health and nutrition website Organic Facts and was also head of sales at Chaupaati Bazaar, a startup acquired by Future Group in 2010. Mittal earlier worked with JPMorgan Chase before the duo got together.
NearFox provides news and updates on local news and activities, be it food, shopping, beauty, fashion, fitness, entertainment and local travel. The startup is operational in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai, and plans to enter New York next. It plans to go live in 10 cities by mid-2017, and aims to launch in 200 cities globally over three years, through expansion led by an extensive blogger network and focus on user-generated content.
“While users are looking for what’s happening in the city, businesses are going to the extent of distributing pamphlets with the morning paper to reach out to them,” said Patil. “NearFox aims to solve this massive information asymmetry that exists in the local lifestyle segment.”
Mittal said the company doesn’t cover politics or crime and is focused on the lifestyle segment. He said that NearFox wanted to focus on the hyperlocal information segment when it started, but decided to focus on the lifestyle segment based on user feedback.
“We wanted to be a city-based platform rather than a very hyperlocal one. However, it became difficult for us to sustain ourselves as a hyperlocal platform because of internet penetration and accessibility issues. For example, if you focus on a small part of the city, you need 50,000 users from that particular locality and to keep an editor and reporter and that is not sustainable,” explained Mittal.
The firm has been operating its platform in the current format since January and claims to have received 2.5 lakh user visits a month, that too without any marketing spend. It does not have any monetisation channels yet but intends to focus on advertising, ticket booking and lead generation as revenue-generating models. It offers its platform on the web and mobile, but is more focused on enhancing its web capabilities.
Globevestor Angel Fund is a California, US-based angel network that connects investors in the US and Europe to startups in emerging markets, according to its website.
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