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Bluetooth Mesh Co TeliBrahma Gets $2 Million From Inventus, Ojas

TeliBrahma, a Bluetooth marketing solutions company has received $2 million in funding – $1 million each from Inventus Capital and Ojas Venture Partners. Samir Kumar of Inventus Capital and Pavan Krishnamurthy of Ojas VP will join Telibrahma’s board. This is the second round of funding for TeliBrahma, which has received an initial round of funding in 2006 from Karnataka Information Technology Venture Capital Fund (KITVEN). Suresh Narasimha, CEO of TeliBrahma confirmed to MediaNama, that KITVEN has exited.

Telibrahma is among the few mobile VAS companies still primarily focusing on the bluetooth services: others experimented with it for a while, and still offer it as a part of their portfolio of services if a marketer wants it, but it isn’t really an area of focus. The company has three types of products:

— Bluetooth marketing
— Mobile search and transaction called Genie
— Enterprise mobility products

Ojas Ventures appears to be particularly bullish on the Mobile VAS space – they invested in platform co Mango Technologies and payment service provider Tyfone. This is Inventus’ first investment.

What is TeliBrahma doing differently?
Most service providers were offering bluetooth marketing services, within a certain range of 15-20 metres. TeliBrahma chose to set up a bluetooth mesh network, for example, converting an entire mall like Forum Mall in Bangalore into a bluetooth enabled zone, and then providing advertising (coupons) and mobile content.

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The Opportunity
Bluetooth was hot for a while: marketers experimented with it and it made news. Instead of occasional Below The Line (BTL) promotions, the opportunity lies in generating leads for store owners involved, offering coupons and discounts, as a leads. But for that, the company will have to invest in setting up substantial bluetooth infrastructure. TeliBrahma had brought media veteran Rohinton Maloo, MD of Cutting Edge Media as Consulting Partner & Strategic Advisor, so the focus has been on advertising.

Challenges
The biggest challenge would be to get people switch their bluetooth on; there isn’t a one-click/button means of switching bluetooth on, whereas, at least in Nokia N Series, WiFi search is accessible via the mobile desktop.  So Bluetooth will have to compete for advertising with GPRS, IVRL, SMS, and location based services.

For more on TeliBrahma, do listen to Kamla Bhatt’s Interview with CEO Suresh Narasimha: Part 1 and Part 2

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