Gurgaon based OnlinePrasad that offers Prasad from various places of worship has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Growth Story Investment firm run by husband and wife duo Krishna and Meena Ganesh, taking around 35% stake in the company, reports Times of India. The amount invested remains undisclosed. Online Prasad had previously graduated from The Morpheus’ eighth batch of its Startup Acceleration Program (SAP). Note that The Morpheus takes 6-9% stake from a startup in its SAP for Rs 500,000 funding.
OnlinePrasad allows consumers to purchase prasad from various places of worship across the country including Vaishno Devi, Shirdi Sai, and Jagannath Puri. Started in January 2012 by Goonjan Mall, the startup offers prasad from more than 30 places of worship on its website: prasad will be offered at the temple on the consumer’s behalf and later deliver it to the consumer. The delivery is managed by logistics company such as FedEx and DHL, as indicated by the report.
As far as we know, startups in the religious and devotional market haven’t really attracted investments from funds, because as acquisition targets they don’t quite conform with the international investment trends – this segment is unique to India. However, there have been numerous attempts by VAS players to sell devotional content including wallpapers, ringtones, bhajans, among others.
It needs to be seen how Online Prasad manages to scale its operations. Many a times a place of worship has a counter insider the temple to accept donations and get prasad delivered. However, until now that was possible only if any of your relatives or friends visit the temple.
The startup caters to middle class and upper class Indians who have access to the Internet through desktop or mobile.
Remember that India has only 137 million Internet users as of December 2012, according to Mary Meeker’s report, although it’s not clear how many are daily active users. Besides, it needs to be seen how many of these Internet users in India are comfortable ordering Prasad online without visiting the place of worship.
Other devotional initiatives
While there are numerous startups that offer religious and devotional content, Mookambika temple in Karnataka offers online pooja’s from its website Mookambika.co.in.
In December 2012, Vistaas Digital Media, a devotional content provider, had launched its own portal, DivineIndia.com, offering religious and spiritual content, online. In June 2012, Bangalore-based EAFT Technologies, had partnered with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation to launch a special range of indigenously built Android tablets, ‘Enlighten’, preloaded with content designed for the devotees of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.