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Bangalore-based Lookup, a free and secure messaging app that connects shoppers with local businesses has raised $2.5 Mn in Series A round of funding. The round was led by Vinod Khosla’s personal fund Khosla Impact which also saw participation from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Narayana Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures and Global Founders Capital, the European investment fund from Rocket Internet’s Samwer brothers.

Other participants in the round include Geneva based ACE & Company, Singapore based M&S partners, New Look fashion chain founder Tom Singh, Lookout founder Kevin Mahaffey and LivSpace founder and former Google Local head Anuj Srivastava.

Earlier this year in January, Lookup had raised a total of $382K in its seed round from Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, DeNA Japan, Beenos founder Teruhide Sato and MKS Switzerland SA. They also participated in the current round.

The funds raised in this round will be used to expand Lookup’s merchant base, in order to enhance convenience for its users and to branch out into newer geographies.

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Founded by Innoz’s Deepak Ravindran, within about 9 months of launch, Lookup has already registered 1 Mn users with over 800K users on Android. The startup has over 250K monthly active users and over 70K merchants on the platform, with daily activity of 55-60,000 users.

Currently, operational in three cities, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi, to date, Lookup has received over 15 Mn messages and handles about 100K daily messages ranging queries from food, medicines, groceries and electronics in a hyper-local area.

Deepak Ravindran, Founder and CEO of Lookup said, “Chat is eating the world. Lookup uses Chat to disrupt local commerce in India, which is a $750 Bn industry. India has the highest shop density in the world with over 45 Mn local businesses.” He further added, “Today, it is very easy to find and buy products online. However, when you want to buy something offline, we still end up picking up our phone and dialing local shops or running around. We want Lookup to be the Google equivalent for finding products and services offline. For this, we hyperlink every local store near you with a simple chat app which give you synchronous connection to the verified vendor.”

Few Recent Developments:

  • The startup has recently  incorporated the booking feature for local saloons and spas and has tied up with supply chain solution firms like Delhivery for POS terminal integration.
  • Introduced hyperlocal deliveries in association with RoadRunnr where users can get all products from local stores delivered on time through Lookup. People can buy products using ‘cash on delivery’ or by using its mobile wallet called “Lookup Cash”.
  • Launched a vendor assistance helpline where businesses can give a missed call to 7676566867 (7676-LOOKUP) to get verified on Lookup.
  • Besides, the startup is also working on a unique concept called Offline API where people can get access to anything on demand from any local store. Recently, it introduced Juice API in association with local merchant in Bangalore. This API is also partnered with many more vendors including Chai Point (tea on demand), Laundry and much more. The company partnered with OYO Rooms to book budget hotels and guest houses PAN India and also has an exclusive tie-up with midnight delivery service Niteout that delivers food, beverages, munchies and even few medicines throughout the night.

Lookup will be soon foraying Dubai in partnership with Etisalat.

“I’m honored to be a part of Deepak’s next big project, and I am truly impressed by what he has already accomplished in his life. I’m very excited about working with such an inspiring entrepreneur, whom I share common ideologies with,” said Twitter’s Biz Stone, who will be advising the team.

Players like Haptik and Yellow Messenger also operates in the same space.

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