Mumbai-based mobile group messaging service SMS GupShup has raised $10 million (Rs 45 crore) in the series E round of fundraising from venture capital investors, the company has said in a statement. With this round of funding, SMS GupShup has raised a total of $47 million (Rs 215 crore) so far.
Although the firm did not disclose further details of the transaction, the deal has been struck at a valuation of Rs 1,000 crore, according to ET. The company is targeting Rs 100 crore in revenues by March 2012 which means the latest deal has been struck at almost 10 times its projected revenue for the year, according to the report.
The funding was led by US-based venture capital firm Tenaya Capital and also included existing investors Lloyd George, New Horizons, Charles River Ventures, Helion Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners.
The monies raised would be utilised to move into new markets and expand the team, said Beerud Sheth, co-founder and CEO of SMS GupShup.
“We are very excited about the company’s opportunity to leverage its innovative product offerings to expand beyond India into other high growth emerging markets,” said Brian Paul, managing director at Tenaya Capital.
SMS GupShup is a mobile group messaging service which allows users to create mobile communities and broadcast messages to them. The company is growing rapidly with thousands of groups on topics such as finance, entertainment, lifestyle, health, sports and technology.
“A company like us, which is not yet profitable but has substantial revenues, is valued on the basis of revenue multiplier,” explained Beerud Sheth, co-founder of SMS GupShup.
Incorporated in 2007 by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and incubated at the IIT Bombay Business Incubator, SMS GupShup is funded by Charles River Ventures, Helion Ventures, Globespan Capital and Tenaya Capital. The company supports 50 million members, five million user-generated communities, 25,000 small businesses and 500 regional and international brands, such as Nokia, Facebook, Pepsi and Sony. It has more than 200 employees, as well as a distributed sales force of around 1,000 contractors.
Currently, India is the fastest growing mobile market in the world, with more than 598.77 million GSM subscribers. The country has seen 8.58 million new GSM connections during June this year, according to the data released by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
Indian e-commerce is at an all-time high right now. Already, it is a $5 billion market and according to IAMAI estimates, it is expected to touch $10.27 billion by the end of this year. The e-commerce segment continues to see more investments flowing in, as well as strategic shifts, with expansion of categories, verticalisation and the well-capitalised start-ups ramping up and innovating to service the growing customer base.
Earlier this year, Flipkart had raised $20 million (Rs 90 crore) from Tiger Global and it is now learnt that the company is raising another $150 million (Rs 675 crore) in a PE round of funding from General Atlantic Partners, in line with its target of Rs 500 crore, to be achieved by March 2012. It also plans to expand its inventory and include products like printers, Mp3 players, televisions and audio systems.
Daily deal site Snapdeal.com had recently raised $40 million (Rs 180 crore) from Bessemer Venture Partners, NEA Indo-US Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners, at a valuation of Rs 1,000 crore.