Voice messaging company Bubblemotion has raised $5 million in funding from Japanese venture capital firm JAFCO Asia. The company intends to use the capital raised to expand its operations in Asian countries including India, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines and other countries globally. It also plans to use the funding to improve its technology platform and expand its products offerings on feature phones and smartphones.
Interestingly, Tom Clayton, CEO of Bubble Motion said that they weren’t planning to raise any more money at this time despite a lot of interest lately, however they felt that JAFCO could add significant value to their business in Japan and across Asia, and they accepted the investment.
Previous Fundings: Prior to this funding round, Bubble Motion has raised $10 million from SingTel’s VC arm SingTel Innov8, with participation from Singapore’s Infocomm Investments and existing investors like Sequoia Capital, Palomar Ventures, and NGC in March 2011. It had also received $6 million in series-C funding from Palomar Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Comcast Interactive Capital, in 2009. The company has raised a total of $50 million till now.
Founded in 2005, Bubblemotion launched a mobile voice blogging service Bubbly in February 2010. This service allows subscribers to record short voice updates called ‘bubbles’ and share it with their friends, family and fans. It also enables one to follow celebrities, sports stars and other users on the platform, to get SMS alerts whenever the user uploads a new voice message. It had claimed to have registered 150,000 people recording and posting audio messages in India in the first week of its launch and currently claims to have 19 million users, up from 16.5 million users in April 2012.
Bubblemotion had also released an Android version of its Bubbly voice app for Indian users and extended its iOS app globally in April 2012, after launching it for South-East Asian countries in March 2012. The app was available for free download at the Google Play store and the iTunes App Store with a 6-month valid in-app purchase of $2.99 to follow all the premium celebrities. The company claims to have hundreds of celebrities on board including the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, and Yuvraj Singh. The service has also been deployed on several mobile networks in India, including Airtel, Reliance and Vodafone.