Lookup, a messaging app that connects shoppers with local businesses, has secured $2.5 million in Series A round of funding led by Vinod Khosla’s personal fund Khosla Impact along with 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 consist of 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.
Founded in December 2014, the Indian startup Lookup offers an Android and iOS app that allows users and businesses to interact with each other. Users can look for shop, service or product and then chat with them to get things done. For instance, users can share their shopping list with the grocery store to get it delivered or search for local mechanic to repair their flat tire. With the app, the users can also look for doctors, dentists, salons, launderer, ATM or fuel station or lot more. Users are not required to sign up to use the app but not the businesses who want to list their store/service.
“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,” said Deepak Ravindran, Founder and CEO of Lookup.
Currently operating in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi, Lookup plans to invest its new funds to expand its operation to other places and merchant base to improve convenience for its users. In partnership with Etisalat, the startup plans to launch its presence in Dubai. It has recently introduced hyper-local deliveries in association with RoadRunnr where users can get all products from local stores delivered on time through Lookup.
“Thrilled to have such prestigious names investing in Lookup. It uses chat to disrupt local commerce in India, which is a $750-billion industry. India has the highest shop density in the world with over 45 million local businesses,” said Ravindran.
Lookup currently claims to have more than 250,000 monthly active users and more than 70,000 merchants on the platform from wide categories. It is not working on a unique concept called Offline API using which people can get anything on demand from a local offline store. For this, it has joined hands with vendors like Chai Point, Laundry, Niteout that delivers food, beverages, munchies and even few medicines throughout the night and OYO rooms to book rooms in budget hotels inside India.