Woovly, an experience discovery platform that enables its users to search and explore ideas, has raised $2.5 million (approximately Rs 17.69 crore at current exchange rates) in a pre-Series A funding round.
The round was led by Duane Park, an investment firm set up by India Equity Partners co-founder Anurag Bhargava. Existing investors SOSV, a US-based venture capital firm, and Xelpmoc Design & Tech Ltd also participated in the funding round.
Bengaluru-based Woovly India Pvt. Ltd will use the funds to expand its user base and accelerate its product development, the company said in a statement.
The latest investment brings the total capital Woovly has raised since its inception in 2017 to $2.6 million.
Venkat J, co-founder and chief executive officer at Woovly, said the firm’s offering was well-matched with the increasing demand for research and content sharing experiences in travel, bucket lists, food, photography and other activities.
Separately, Bhargava said he was confident of his firm’s investment in Woovly because of its business model and potential to engage consumers across the world seeking more meaningful experiences.
SOSV general partner William Bao Bean said the startup would be able to bring an element of trust to the lifestyle and experience of consumers. “Millennials discover, research and shop on social not on search and India has one of the largest populations of millennials in the world,” he said.
Woovly says its platform gives perspective to users while they search for experiences. It caters to segments including local activities and attractions for customers to plan to to-do lists and connect with other users with similar interests. The company says that it will partly earn revenue through “impressionable product placement” on its platform.
The investment in Woovly represents a larger trend among investors seeking to bet on startups that are focussing on social- and community-led experiences. These startups, operating across different sectors, seek to differentiate themselves from traditional firms by tailoring their products around a group approach.
For instance, earlier this month, social commerce platform for vernacular users Mall91 raised $7.5 million (Rs 67.9 crore) in its Series A round of funding led by Go-Ventures. The company offers gaming, video, chat and social shopping features to its users.
DealShare, a social commerce startup that focusses on the grocery segment, raised $11 million in a seed and Series A funding round co-led by the US-based venture capital firms Matrix Partners and Falcon Edge.
Last month, at least two social commerce startups raised funding. HappyShappy raised an undisclosed amount in its seed funding from a clutch of high-profile investors including Beerud Sheth, Samuel Choi, Shivashish Chatterjee and Yuvraja C Singh.