Messaging platform SMS GupShup has raised $11 million in Series A funding from Helion Ventures and Charles River Ventures (CRV). SMS GupShup is mobile group SMS service that allows users to create mobile communities and broadcast messages to them. The funds will be used to fund business growth, product development and increased sales and marketing. Since its 2007 launch, SMS GupShup has expanded its user base to 12 million unique users spread over half a million varied communities. SMS GupShup is one of the group companies of Webaroo.
This announcement comes on the backdrop of Google announcing its SMS channel. Google Labs is testing this product in India and plans to launch it globally. Currently Google's product is available in English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada languages. The other local player in this segment is NetCore (whose service is MyToday), which has around 11 million subscriptions with 4 million unique subscribers. These players would now look at rapid expansion of their services so their advertising reach spreads.
Webaroo has been founded by serial entrepreneurs Rakesh Mathur (founder of Armedia, Junglee, Stratify) and Beerud Sheth (founder of Elance). While this is first round for SMS Gup Shup, the parent company Webaroo has raised several rounds of funding.
This would be CRV's first investment in India. Though it has invested in some cross-border companies such as software radio maker Vanu and Bangalore-based July Systems, this would be its first pure India investment. It has hired Swapnil Shah and Devdutt Yellurkar to look after its India portfolio.