NowFloats acquires Vinod Khosla-backed app Lookup

Hyderabad-based NowFloats Technologies Pvt. Ltd—which runs NowFloats, a platform enabling local businesses to target customers based on location—has acquired Bangalore-based chat-based app Lookup in a cash and stock deal, the company said in a statement.

NowFloats acquired Lookup’s technology team and product which will help it add over 90,000 customers to over 250,000 businesses currently accessing its platform. In addition, NowFloats will get access to Lookup’s over 1.2 million registered users in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune.

“We wanted to invest in a conversational interface as we always believed that for certain categories (where the user needs more information before making the purchase decision) having a simple way to interact with the merchant is very important. We aim to build Lookup further as a direct consumer channel to simplify discovery of offline businesses beyond the existing search engines and social networks,” said Ronak Kumar Samantray, co-founder, NowFloats.

Founded in May 2012 by Jasminder Singh Gulati, Nitin Jain, Neeraj Sabharwal and Samantray, NowFloats enables online discovery of local small and medium businesses (SMBs) via location-based search engine optimisation (SEO) technology. The firm also helps local businesses manage SEO-optimised websites via SMS. The firm offers customers two subscription-based flagship products—NowFloats Lighthouse and NowFloats Wildfire.

NowFloats counts Sleepwell, Bayer, TVS Group, IndusInd Bank, Wicked Ride, Canada’s SiberName and Kenya’s Datum Digital among its partners and customers globally.

Last month, the firm reportedly raised $9 million (Rs 60 crore) in a Series B round from mid-market technology investor Iron Pillar and IIFL Wealth, as well as existing investors Blume Ventures and Omidyar Network. In February last year, it raised an undisclosed amount in Series A round of funding led by Omidyar Network, with participation from Blume Ventures, Mumbai Angels and Hyderabad Angels.

Lookup, a messaging app that connects local merchants with customers, was launched in October 2014 by Deepak Ravindran, co-founder and former CEO of SMS-based search engine services startup Innoz Technologies. Operated by Hatchery Software Pvt. Ltd, Lookup raised $2.5 million in Series A funding led by venture capitalist Vinod Khosla’s personal fund, Khosla Impact in October last year. It also received backing from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

In February this year, Lookup had appointed Narayan Babu, former director of engineering from California-based Quixey Inc, as its first chief technology officer.

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