Tring, a yet-to-launch instant messaging app, has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from ValueFirst founder Vishwadeep Bajaj and other angel investors.
Alok Gupta (MD of Gerken Capital Associates) and Ranganathan V (MD of DNA Technology Consulting) also put money in this round, Tring co-founder Arun Uday told Techcircle.in.
Run by Mainfolde Technologies Pvt Ltd, the startup will use the money raised to complete product development and launch Tring by early March, Uday added.
Tring, which was founded last year, differentiates itself from WhatsApp, Hike and other messaging platforms through groups that are open and discoverable. “We are telephone plus yellow pages rolled into one product. The app can play the role of a helpdesk and customer relationship manager, besides being a marketing tool,” Uday said.
There will be two types of groups on Tring; member-to-member (where a member’s post can be seen by all other members) and owner-to-member (where messages can be exchanged between the administrator and individual group members only).
Ahead of the formal launch, the startup is seeing interest from corporates and government agencies.
“We are in talks with a government agency as it wants to use Tring to disseminate citizen messages,” Uday added.
Tring was founded by Uday, Janaki Ram Chaganti and Sachin Sashital last year. An alumnus of the Indian School of Business (Hyderabad), Uday worked with HSBC Private Equity before starting up. He is also the founder of Droover.com (owned by Mainfolde), an online network that allows users to discover common interests.
“While the Droover site is still functional, the plan is to integrate Droover into the Tring app going forward,” Uday said.
Both Chaganti (alumnus of NIT Tiruchirappalli) and Sashital (alumnus of IIT Bombay) were consultants at IoT major PTC, before co-founding Tring.
The instant messaging app space is a highly competitive one. Facebook-owned WhatsApp is the market leader in India. Facebook Messenger, Viber, Google Talk, China’s WeChat, Japan’s Line and Nimbuzz are the other players in this space. WhatsApp recently crossed the one billion monthly active user milestone.
Many small businesses in the country rely on WhatsApp to connect with their customers.
Hike, the homegrown app run by Kavin Mittal (son of Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal), recently raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Quora founder Adam D’Angelo and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg.
Revenue of telecom operators has been under pressure for several quarters now as subscribers increasingly use messaging apps for both instant messaging and voice calls.