Bangalore-based Sumiran Spiritual Services Pvt Ltd, the company behind OnlinePrasad.com, a platform that offers prasad (offerings to god) on behalf of users at temples of their choice and then delivers it at their homes, has raised an undisclosed amount in its pre-Series A round of funding led by Hyderabad Angels, with participation from Chennai Angels and a few other individuals.
Investors who participated in this round include Srini Koppolu, former MD of Microsoft India; R Ramraj, founder of Sify and senior advisor of Sequoia Capital; and Niraj Mital, co-founder of Magna Infotech. As part of the deal, Mital will join the board of the startup.
"We are planning to use the capital for scaling our product & services like astrology and branding of our private label brand Zevotion," Goonjan Mall, founder and CEO of OnlinePrasad, said adding that a part of the funds will also go towards expanding the team, in addition to preparing the firm to raise Series A funding.
In an interaction with Techcircle.in in May this year, Mall had said that the firm was in advanced talks to raise Rs 2 crore (under $350,000) in a bridge round of funding.
A Morpheus accelerator startup, OnlinePrasad was founded in January 2012 by Mall, a BITS Pilani alumnus. The platform basically enables devotees to offer 'prasad' to the temples of their choice across India. One can visit the platform and choose his/her favourite shrine. The corresponding page has all the details of the temple, including its history, rituals, etc. The customers then needs to select the quantity of 'prasad' they want to offer, post which they can proceed to payment. Users can make payments via credit/debit card, net banking or bank deposit. OnlinePrasad also has registered cash payment centres and sales partners.
The company has employed people at each temple location who make the offerings to the deities (with all the necessary rites and rituals) and then package it. The prasad is then delivered to the customer via courier services in five-six working days. It has partnered with multiple logistics services for home delivery.
The fee starts at Rs 501 per offering and can go up to Rs 51,000 for specialised offerings. One can also get prasad every month for Rs 11,000. The fee covers the price of prasad, packaging, logistics, shipping, payment collection as well as government taxes.
The startup is selling 'rudrakshas' under the Zevotion brand. It handpicks the rudrakshas from farms across Nepal, and presents them to its consumers. It has also employed experts who design the rarest of the yantras.
The company had earlier secured an undisclosed amount in funding from serial entrepreneur Krishnan and wife Meena Ganesh in June last year.
"Trust between a customer and a company is critical to the success of any business. OnlinePrasad has won quintessential trust of millions of devotees by bringing God closer to them and creating high entry barriers very early in the niche but rapidly growing spiritual e-commerce segment," said Sasidhar Nandigam, director of Hyderabad Angels.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)