[Exclusive] NowFloats acquires chat-based platform LookUpJai Vardhan
Bengaluru-based chat-commerce platform LookUp got acquired by NowFloats, which creates websites on the fly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). YourStory reached out to Jasminder Singh Gulati, CEO of Nowfloats, who confirmed that LookUp has become a part of NowFloats, but refused to divulge further details. Founder and CEO of LookUp Deepak Ravindran said,
It's an acquisition. Product will continue to grow.
A source YourStory spoke to said the deal will be announced soon and LookUp's core team will be joining NowFloats team next week.
It is as yet unclear whether LoookUp's team will move to Hyderabad, which is where NowFloats is based. The startup had been looking for funding for quite some time. However, it failed to convince investors for the follow-on round, according to YourStory sources.
LookUp had raised about $ 3 million from investors like Khosla Impact and Catamaran Ventures. It is a chat-based commerce platform, essentially enabling users to discover and reach out to merchants in their vicinity.
NowFloats, on the other hand, marries location and mobile to help local businesses create and manage their SEO-powered websites via SMS. NowFloats was founded by Jasminder (CEO) and Nitin Jain (COO) in 2012.
Chat-based commerce used to be a hot proposition, but has had a rough time so far this year. Sequoia-funded HelpChat did back-to-back pivots to figure out the right business model. The company moved from chat-based assistance model this May after letting go of over 300 employees from its Bengaluru and Delhi offices. Another chat-based service startup GoodService had stopped delivery-based service in NCR. It had raised about $1.6 million from Sequoia Capital.
In the past 12-18 months a slew of personal assistant apps, such as Goodservice, Helpchat, Haptik, Niki.ai and MagicX, had attracted investor attention. According to a startup data tracker, there were over 46 Indian tech startups in chat-based mobile personal assistants space. Along the lines of hyperlocal startups, a majority of them had shut shop, while funded peers struggled to find strong and consistent interest from users.