Twitter co-founder Biz Stone invests in India's Lookup, a chat application for local commerce
Deepak Ravindran of Innoz fame (see our 2008 story) began his new innings with launching Lookup last year. Riding on the messaging wave, Lookup is a chat application that is trying to disrupt local commerce. The company has raised $382k till now from the likes of Infosys Co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan. Now, the company has announced an investment from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. "We are closing a Series A of 3Million$. The rest of the investors are yet to close or confirm," says Deepak.
Lookup is a free app for both consumers and businesses. Chat is replacing SMS and other means of communication and the growth of WhatsApp in nations like India is testimony to that. And Lookup uses Chat to disrupt local commerce in India. Lookup claims that there are over 45 million local businesses in India and the time is ripe for technology to come in and change how things work. (see how WhatsApp is changing the way business is done)
- The current current downloads stand at over 200,000 and Lookup mentions some of the highlights in a blog announcement:Listed as an Essential App list in Google Play and as a Top free app in the communication category on Google Play.
- Onboarding of over 10,000 verified merchants
- Over 3 million messages exchanged per month
- Over 100,000 leads generated to local businesses
- Expanding into other networks including SMS and WhatsApp
We asked Deepak about the active users and the verification process. He explains further about the metrics, "We are following a horizontal approach where any local business is listed and verified by us. We have daily activity of over 13% which is approximately 25k users/day. Most of the shop keepers claim within the app. We also have people on ground in Bangalore and Mumbai. Will be live across 9 cities by end of this year."
Biz Stone coming onboard as an investor and advisor is a big step forward for Lookup. Talking of the ambitious future plans, Deepak mentions, "Receiving this funding is like getting another opportunity to blazon the world with innovation; to fill more e-pages in the world of businesses and startups. It is a fuel and not the end result. We plan to integrate all the offline businesses into the online world and connect them to their customers. We aim to be the one stop app that satiates all the needs of our customers."
Chat has also given rise to a lot of new startups and apart from Lookup, there are companies like Flock and Avaamo which are like WhatsApp for Business, there is Haptik and Akosha which are chat applications for users to conenct with brands for customer support and many more.