Delhi-based Omnia Information Pvt. Ltd, which runs smart network layer platform Information to Every One (i2e1), has raised $3 million (about Rs 20 crore) in Series A funding led by impact investment firm Omidyar Network, a press statement said.
Auxano Ventures, Mohandas Pai-backed early-stage venture capital firm 3one4 Capital, and some existing investors also put in money.
The startup plans to use the funds to scale existing operations and launch a mobile application.
Incubated in IIT Delhi, i2e1 had raised $500,000 in seed funding in December 2015 from growX ventures, Pai, Rajan Pandhare, Debasish Mitter and Singapore Angels.
i2e1 helps offline merchants provide free Wi-Fi access to customers in exchange for data. Using the data collected from user sign-ins at brick-and-mortar establishments, i2e1 creates an analytics intelligence suite, similar to Google Analytics, for offline business, the company said. In the last 18 months, i2e1 claims to have grown 30 times and serviced more than 3,000 locations across 75 cities in the country.
“Despite advancements in infrastructure from telecom companies, significant gaps exist across Internet connectivity and affordability for the masses, paving the way for increased Wi-Fi proliferation to enable ubiquitous and low-cost access,” said Siddharth Nautiyal, investment officer, Omidyar Network. “i2e1 has the potential to become the de facto gateway to the Internet for millions, empowering offline retailers with rich user insights and smarter decision making,” he added.
“Retailers in India are slowly realising that Wi-Fi as a service not only increases customer delight, but can also be used to understand customer behaviour patterns... We have created a strong product with positive unit economics,” said Satyam Darmora, co-founder, i2e1.
i2e1 was founded by Darmora, Nishit Aggarwal, Gaurav Bansal, Maanas Dwivedi, Ashutosh Mishra, and Anugrah Adams, a group of IIT-IIM graduates with experience in leadership positions at American Express, Dell, and Microsoft. The firm was incubated in IIT Delhi, which is also one of the shareholders in the company.
Omidyar Network was founded by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and his wife Pam. It recently invested in Transerve, a technology solutions provider for sustainable urban planning, and CSR management platform Goodera.
It has a portfolio of around three dozen companies with investments in sectors such as consumer Internet, media, financial services and solar lighting. Quikr, 1mg, DailyHunt, Vistaar, and Scroll Inc are some of its investments in India.
Founded in 2015, 3one4 Capital is managed by Pranav Pai and Siddarth Pai, sons of TV Mohandas Pai. The firm operates separately from Aarin Capital, the proprietary investment vehicle of Mohandas Pai and Manipal Group scion Ranjan Pai. A prolific investor, it has backed 43 companies from its first fund, which was launched in 2016 and had a corpus of Rs 100 crore. It is closing its second fund, whose size stands at Rs 250 crore including the greenshoe option. The second fund has the backing of Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani.