Mumbai Angels, a leading group of angel investors, has invested $500,000 in the second round of funding in Onward Mobility, a mobile application and solutions company.
In the first round of funding, the angel group had put in close to Rs 2 crore. With this, the cumulative investment following the current round would be more than $1 million. There has been a fresh issue of shares from the company for this round. Mumbai Angels members Rajiv Dadlani, Vivek Nathwani and Vikas Choudhuri are on the board of Onward Mobility.
Anil Joshi, Member, Mumbai Angels, confirmed the development to VCCircle.
The company currently has four mobile apps live – MobiCop (a security software that tracks mobile phones in case of loss or theft and protects data from unauthorised users), MobiSecret (it allows users to hide personal data like images, videos, sound clips and entire folders on their mobile handsets to prevent misuse), MobiRecord (allows users to record voice memos or phone calls without interrupting beeps).
The Mumbai based company plans to utilise these funds to expand its product offering and distribution reach across India.
According to the investors, what is unique about the company is its distribution model. It sells products through retail counters across India unlike other mobile app companies which usually sell online. The company claims that its products, which carry the brand name Mobi, are already present in over 10,000 retail outlets across India. The company has also entered into strategic partnerships with many content publishers and intends to roll out their partner products like games, music, entertainment, and other content through their unique offline distribution channel in the next few months.
Mumbai Angels member Rajiv Dadlani, who is the board of the company, said, Onward Mobility’s distribution model is more suited to the Indian market compared to the other existing current distribution models, which are mostly online or through the telcos/operators. Moreover, the company has established a new category (i.e. Mobile Applications) in the FMCG market. Mobile phones being the third largest category (after soap/detergent and tooth-paste) among the consumer products in India, with over a 60 % penetration (and growing) of the population, the company’s potential to scale very rapidly is tremendous.
“This Offline Retail Distribution model solves most of the pain points and gaps that currently exist in the other online and telco/operator distribution models like payment (very low balances prevailing on pre-paid), discovery (getting lost among over 100,000 apps on App Stores), support (only email/chat is existing, whereas Onward has a dedicated call-centre with toll-free number) and many others. In a country like India, where the mass consumer is not a “DIY” (Do It Yourself) type, there prevails substantial room and a large opportunity for a premier Offline App Store, which is the company’s goal set to be achieved over the next 5 years” he added.
Onward Mobillity CEO Arun Menon adds, ‘Once our Offline Retail Distribution setup is mature, selling apps directly to consumers through online app stores by enabling m-commerce will just be an extension of this model.”
Mobile as a space appears to be a favourite with Mumbai Angels. Early this year, Mumbai Angels invested in Mobiquest, a mobile applications and solutions company in Mumbai. They also recently exited their investment in Inmobi, which gave one of the best returns for the angel investing group. It was also one of the seed investors in Hyderabad-based mobile TV company Apalya Technologies Pvt Ltd., which recently raised $3 million from IDG Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures.