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Bubbly getting acquired by Indian mobile VAS company Altruist Group


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Singapore-based social voice messaging company Bubbly (formerly known as Bubble Motion) has been acquired for an undisclosedBubbly logo amount by India-based mobile VAS company Altruist Group, reports TechInAsia.

Last week, TechInAsia had reported that it had learnt from sources that Bubbly was on the verge of liquidation, after a few acquisitions deals failed to work out. Also, it seems Bubbly had carried out the due diligence process a number of times in the past nine months, anticipating acquisitions.

This deal will add the 40 million registered users Bubbly, which was first launched in February 2010, has across Asia and the Middle East, plus the 140 million users (claimed) of the SMS-based BubbleTalk service across India and the rest of Asia to Altruist’s portfolio of voice-based services. Bubbly CEO Thomas Clayton told the publication that most of its employees will move to India or Indonesia, as part of the deal.

Bubbly’s existing investors are expected to continue as minority stakeholders in the new combined entity.

Bubbly in India

Bubbly allows users to record short voice updates, which can be shared within their network. Users can also follow celebrities and other users of the platform. Users receive SMS alerts every time someone they follow posts an update.

In the first week of its launch in India, Bubbly claimed to have registered 150,000 users in the country. The company claimed to have over 19 million users in India (as of August 2012).

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Bubbly funding timeline

-Since September 2006, Bubbly has raised over $40 million in funding. Sequoia Capital invested $10 million and $14 million in Bubbly in September 2006 and March 2008, respectively.

-In July, 2009 Bubbly raised $6 million in venture capital funding from Palomar Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Comcast Interactive Capital.

-The company raised a further $10 million in March 2011, from SingTel’s VC arm SingTel Innov8, with participation from Singapore’s Infocomm Investments and existing investors Sequoia Capital, Palomar Ventures, and NGC.

-Finally, in August 2012 the company raised $5 million from Japanese venture capital firm JAFCO Asia. This was the last round of funding.

Altruist acquisitions

-In July 2012, Altruist Group had acquired Sweden-based VAS company Teligent Telecom, in an all-cash deal. Following this acquisition, Altruist gained access in the European, North African and US markets. It already had a presence in Southeast Asia, Middle East and Africa. The Chandigarh and Shimla-based company claims to have over 80 million active voice messaging users across Africa and Europe.

-Altruist had acquired RelayStrategy, a mobile applications and IT solutions development company, in July 2011. Altruist had acquired 100% stake, except the ESOPS.

-A month earlier, Altruist had picked up 20% stake in Vegam Solutions, a mobile VAS Retail and voice gaming company. It was a part-cash-part-kind deal, though the amount invested wasn’t disclosed.

-Earlier, Mobile2Win (india) had merged with Altruist in February 2009. At the time, the combined entity had claimed to be the fourth largest mobile VAS company in India, in terms of revenue.

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