Kalpnik Technologies, which runs a virtual reality-driven spiritual startup, has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.32 crore) in a seed round from a group of angels at funding and incubation platform Venture Catalysts, it said in a statement.
The investment was led by Ashwani Kakkar of Mercury Travels and Via.com; GG Gulati, chairman of United Group of Institutions; Bobby Reddy of Indus Homes; Tinku Acharya, co-architect - Webcam and managing director - Videonetics; Raja Sahi of Pixelogic Media; Anand Ladsariya, owner of Everest Flavours; and Nitesh Prakash of Ola, among others. Following the investment, Vansh Gulati of United Group of Institutions and Anuj Puri of Venture Catalysts will join the company's board.
Kalpnik Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs the startup, said it will use the funds to develop content for temples and gurus and onboard them on its platform.
The company, which is expected to release its Android and iOS apps soon, provides religious and spiritual experiences using augmented and virtual reality. Kalpnik was incorporated in 2016 by John Kuruvilla, former chief revenue officer at Air Deccan and ex-managing director of GenNext Ventures (a Reliance Industries-sponsored venture fund); Ashwani Garg, former director, new business solutions and Internet of Things at Intel; and Apul Nahata, former CTO of GenNext Ventures.
Kakkar, one of the investors, said he expected Kalpnik to provide a strong impetus to religious tourism.
“We are confident that the Kalpnik platform can fulfil the need-gap for such tech-driven religious and spiritual solutions in the Indian market," Gulati said.
“By leveraging cutting-edge VR/AR technologies, we are delivering an extremely immersive and interactive interface which is bringing devotees closer to fulfilling their religious and spiritual needs...” CEO Garg said.
A few ventures in the augmented reality and virtual reality space have managed to raise funds.
In May, Chymera VR Inc, a virtual reality advertising platform, secured funding from a clutch of angel investors, including People Group founder and chief executive Anupam Mittal, Airbnb’s global expansion head Varsha Rao, Google executive Surojit Chatterjee, and HHC Holdings chairman Nirav Choksi, among others. The investment was made through the LetsVenture platform.
In March, virtual reality startup ShilpMIS Technologies raised an undisclosed amount from Puneet Gupta, a digital industry veteran and angel investor, Nimitt Desai, partner at Deloitte US, and other high net worth individuals.
Imaginate Technologies, Inc had raised Rs 3.35 crore ($500,000) in seed investment from venture fund SRI Capital in February.
In September, West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle picked up a minority stake in Bangalore-based augmented reality venture FlippAR in lieu of endorsing the brand.