nowfloats

Hyderabad-based NowFloats has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Omidyar Network and existing investors Mumbai Angels, Blume Ventures and Hyderabad Angels. The company will use the funds to enhance its distribution platform, for customer acquisition and to expand globally. Blume Ventures had previously co-invested in the startup, along with Mumbai Angels and other individual angels in August 2013.

NowFloats currently offers a platform for local businesses to get online by creating local content and managing & updating their online presence. For this, the company offers two flagship products Lighthouse and Wildfire. Lighthouse offers merchants updates via its web portal, custom background on websites, unlimited gallery images and email addresses along with up to 500 email subscribers for Rs 20,000 per year.

Wildfire on the other hand offers organic traffic optimisation, along with driving inorganic traffic. The platform claims to auto-promote websites on channels like Google and Facebook and costs Rs 60,000 for 6 months. Both plans offer customers location based SEO, an analytics dashboard, Google places integration, a .com domain or link to existing site, Facebook social sharing and customer support over phone and email.

Other than this, NowFloats also provides an Android and iOS app ‘NowFloats Boost’, which lets users create a website as a nowfloats.com subdomain for free. The app integrates Facebook and Twitter letting users share content directly through the app. Once the website gains popularity customers can display wares and promos, set business timings, create a ‘make an enquiry’ box for users and make the website third-party ad-free through purchasable widgets in the ‘NowFloats Store’. The app also claims to perform location based SEO on the content to make it rank higher in search results.

NowFloats currently claims to have over 33,000 customers including Samsung, Mahindra Retail, Neeru’s, Printo, Nokia priority partner, Bayer and Canon among others. According to the company, it has been scaling up operations through strategic partnerships, including with AskMe in India and Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, which enables small businesses in Africa to come online.

Previously, NowFloats provided location based mobile services with relevant and contextual information to users based on their current location and time. This included an Android and Windows app called NowFloats ‘ Your location buzz’, which it had launched in June 2012. The service allows users to add thoughts and pictures about a specific location, read other thoughts for that location and browse through events and deals happening around their current location. However, the app was last updated in 2012 and doesn’t seem to be actively developed anymore.

Competition

– E-commerce marketplace Infibeam had entered the UAE market with its DIY (Do-It-Yourself) e-commerce back-end platform, BuildaBazaar in Nov 2013. The platform was first launched in May 2011 and was later extended to the travel segment in 2012.

-Canada based DIY e-commerce store Shopify expanded its operation in India with the help of SingTel. The company also has a tie up with AskMeBazaar (formerly Getitbazaar) and Airtel.

MartJack launched an integrated solutions for sellers to list items on Amazon’s Junglee platform and Sellmojo.com, a unique take on the DIY e-commerce platform, lets users create e-commerce stores on Facebook.

-Other players in the market include ambab.com, bigcommerce.com, zepo.in,Kartrocket, PowerStores, Hibu and 39shops.com among others.

Image source: NowFloats