NowFloats raises Series A funding to bring its local Tumblr like service to SMEs in emerging markets
Monday February 02, 2015,
3 min Read
Hyderabad-based NowFloats has raised series A funding from a new investor Omidyar Network and existing investors, including Blume Ventures, Mumbai Angels and Hyderabad Angels. The company hasn’t disclosed the amount it raised. This funding will enable NowFloats to expand its global footprint and distribution platform as well as help customers access more online consumers.
NowFloats platform marries location and mobile to help local businesses create and manage their SEO optimized websites via SMS. NowFloats was founded by Jasminder Singh Gulati (CEO) and Nitin Jain (COO) in 2012.
Nitin Jain, Co-founder & COO of NowFloats, said, “A new generation of business owners and technologies are creating a never-before opportunity and NowFloats is focused on helping small businesses get bigger. We are excited to partner with Omidyar Network and Blume Ventures to help our current customers get even more value, and expand the overall customer base.”
NowFloats has two flagship products, NowFloats Lighthouse and NowFloats Wildfire. These products help in automating organic and inorganic discovery across customer segments. Lighthouse is a web-based subscription service for about Rs. 20,000 per year. Wildfire is subscription service that does auto promote content on Facebook and Google for Rs.1, 20,000 per year.
“By providing small merchants and local businesses an online presence, making local content, and enabling discovery of this content, NowFloats is at the forefront of creating massive social impact,” said Anuradha Ramachandran, Director, Investments at Omidyar Network.
Creating a site for SMEs
According to NowFloats, 125 million small and medium businesses worldwide need a website. At present, they are serving 30+ of them in India. The startup makes a website for SMEs at a scale and then optimizes their updated messages to ensure local discovery through automated Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Using NowFloats app takes 13 minutes to create a website via SMS. Businesses can use it to update promos, offers, product information, and sales, etc. on the go. This enables local businesses get an online presence by creating local content, managing and updating the online presence of its customers through an innovative customer-centric technology interface.
When someone searches for the physical location of the business or searches with the location in the search string, NowFloats powered website emerges on Google search result. That is because NowFloats’ algorithms ensure that SMEs updates are optimized for search results around the location of business. When consumers are serious about purchase, they search for things in a specific location, and they are more likely to buy from local businesses.
“NowFloats is clearly a product that's Indian in its need and functionality but global in shape and form. It is a phenomenal export opportunity to conquer a SME opportunity across small businesses, in both emerging and mature economies,” said Karthik Reddy of Blume Ventures.
The company claims that the platform processes over 30 million touch-points every month with customers updating their sites half a million times. NowFloats has over 33,000 customers and is one of the fastest growing companies in the Small and Medium Business (SMB) segment in India.
According to the Nasscom report, the SMB market is estimated to witness a year-on-year growth of 15 percent CAGR. NowFloats is preparing to target the SMBs who are ready for online presence in India.
NowFloats has been scaling rapidly through strategic partnerships, including with AskMe in India and Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, which enables a million small businesses in Africa to come online. They recently announced an update that creates sites using Facebook feed and its platform now supports all global languages, including all the major Indian languages.