Morpheus, Seeders-backed Plivo gets funding from Y Combinator

10 Jul, 2012

Plivo, an India and US-based technology startup that offers Application Programme Interface (APIs) that make it easier for businesses to develop telephony applications, has received $1,67,000 in funding from startup accelerator Y Combinator and its partners.

The startup is part of the current batch (June-August, 2012) of Y Combinator and hence received $17,000 in funding from accelerator and $1,50,000 from Y Combinator's partners, taking the company's total funding to $427,000.

Around the same time last year, the company had received $10,000 from The Morpheus (TM)- a startup accelerator founded in 2008 by the husband-wife duo of Sameer Guglani and Nandini Hirianniah. Plivo was part of batch 6 of Morpheus and post-completion, it also received $250,000 from Morpheus' investor partners that included Seeders Venture Capital Pvt Ltd and One97 Mobility Fund, among others.

"When we applied to Y Combinator, we were not expecting to actually get through. It was a long shot and we had embraced ourselves for a rejection, but as it turns out, they liked our idea and we were called for an interview," Venkatesh B (or Venky), co-founder, Plivo said in a conference call.

Plivo was founded by Venky and Michael Ricordeau. Venky holds an engineering degree in Computer Science from Visvesvaraya Technological University.  Prior to Plivo, he has worked in telecom product companies like Subex Ltd, Narus Networks and Huawei. Both the founders met on GitHub, a social network for programmers, where the idea of Plivo came about.

The company enables users to develop telephony applications and abstracts the complex telephony infrastructure into simple, powerful and scalable HTTP APIs. In simpler terms, it aims to bridge the gap between telephone and the Internet. Plivo has a team of seven engineers (including the two founders). Apart from the founders, who are based in the US, all the other employees work out of its India office in Bangalore.

The company was operating in a closed-invite mode since October last year and it has now come out of invite mode and launched its API platform for voice and SMS applications. It already has a dozen customers, out of which 50 per cent are paid customers including Imprezzio.com, CalliFlower.com and CableCompaniesInMyArea.Net, among others.

In a closed-invite mode, companies interested in using Plivo's services contacted Plivo, after which, Plivo got in talks with them to get them as customers.

The service is currently available only in US and Canada. "US is an early adopter market and we are focused on it as of now. But as the Cloud telephony market matures over time, we will probably look at other markets, including India," said Venky.

Although not direct competitors, companies like Twilio and Tropo are operating in the same space as Plivo. "They focus on a different market segment altogether. While Twilio is focused on developers, we focus on large businesses," he said.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)