Singapore-based voice messaging company Bubble Motion Pte Ltd has raised $5 million in funding from Japanese venture capital firm JAFCO Asia.
In India, Bubble Motion partners with top operators including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone to offer voice-based services such as celebrity voice chats, voice messages and voice blogs.
The money raised from JAFCO will be used for expanding its operations in Asian countries including India, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and other countries globally. Bubble Motion also intends to use the funding to improve its technology platform and expand its product offerings on feature phones and smartphones.
Launched in 2005, Bubble Motion was co-founded by entrepreneurs Sunil Coushik and Venu Sriperumal. But they seem to have moved out of active management and the company is now headed by Thomas Clayton, who is currently the president and CEO. Clayton was appointed as CEO in 2007.
Last year, the company raised $10 million in growth capital to speed up the rollout of Bubbly, a mobile voice blogging service. That round of funding was led by SingTel Innov8, the SingTel Group’s corporate venture capital fund, while Infocomm Investments, Sequoia Capital, Palomar Ventures and NGC also participated. Bubble Motion also received a seed fund of $5 million from unnamed angel investors and in 2007, Sequoia Capital and its Indian arm led a $10 million funding round. In 2008, the company raised $14 million from Sequoia Capital and Comcast Interactive Capital. It raised another $6 million in July 2009 in a round led by Palomar Ventures. With the current round, the company has raised a total of $50 million till date.
Bubble Motion launched the mobile voice blogging service Bubbly in February 2010. This service allows subscribers to record short voice updates called ‘bubbles’ and share those with their friends, families and fans. It also enables one to follow celebrities, sports stars and other users on the platform and get SMS alerts whenever users upload new voice messages. It claimed to have registered 150,000 people in India in the first week of its launch and currently claims to have 19 million users, up from 16.5 million users in April 2012.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)