Social enterprise GramVaani has raised $500,000 from IAN and others, reports Iamwire. Speaking to Medianama, Aaditheswar Seth, Co-founder of GramVaani said that the funds will be utilised to expand its Mobile Vaani network (earlier known as the Goonj Network) and monetise it. However, Seth did not confirm or deny whether IAN has invested in the company.
Seth is looking at four different streams of monetisation including rural advertising by corporate companies, sponsored shows by companies on various subjects like maternal health, agricultural information, subscription channels like employment channel for users and geography specific advertising through its classifieds channel.
In an earlier interview with Medianama, Seth had said that MobileVaani has access to a very large user base. This user base is typically not accessible to television or radio media and give companies personal reach to people in these geographies. In a month or so, the company will have 7 networks coming up in North east India, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh.
Started in 2008-09, GramVaani (meaning voice of the village), has been building technology for community radio stations, IVR based applications and last year, launched a mobile based radio network called Goonj, which acts as a voice based social network for the bottom of the pyramid. Goonj is operating in select districts of Jharkhand state, receiving over 2000 calls a day, while GramVaani’s technology is currently being used by 2 million users across 15 Indian States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Namibia and South Africa.
Other recent mainstream funding in social enterprises: GramVaani is the second social enterprise in the recent time to procure investment from a mainstream investor. Social fund raising platform, Milaap also recently raised $1.1 million in a funding round led by Jungle Ventures. Other Investors includeToivo Annus, Co-founder & former Head of Engineering of Skype, Lionrock Capital, Jayesh Parekh, Co-Founder of Sony Entertainment Television and existing investor, Unitus Seed Fund.