Vernacular news, classifieds app Lokal raises $3 million

Vernacular news, classifieds app Lokal raises $3 million
Photo Credit: Pixabay
4 Nov, 2019

Local news and classifieds app Lokal has raised $3 million in a funding round from a group of investors, including venture capital firms India Quotient and 3one4 Capital. The stage of funding was not specified.

Mountain View, California-based seed accelerator YCombinator, Singapore-based venture capital firm RB Investments and San Francisco-based venture capital firm SOMA Capital also participated in the funding round.

Kevin Lin, co-founder of San Francisco-based social video platform and community for gamers Twitch, Alvin Tse, general manager at Xiaomi Indonesia, Burbank-based media technology company XRM media were among other investors, Lokal co-founder Jani Pasha said in the statement.

The Bengaluru-based platform provides local news, jobs, classifieds and matrimonial ads to its users. The Android-only app is currently operational in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh and is available in Telugu and Hindi.  The app has been downloaded by more than 3 million times, Lokal claimed.

Lokal plans to expand its operations to other states in the coming months and bring more regional users on its digital platform, the statement added.

Founded in 2018 by Pasha, an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur alumnus and Vipul Choudhary, an IIT Bombay alumnus, Lokal was part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 batch that consisted of three other Indian startups.

"Digitisation of classifieds in tier 2 and 3 cities and beyond is a large and lucrative opportunity. Local news and information can be served much faster and in a better way digitally,” Madhukar Sinha, a partner at one of the investors, India Quotient said.

Hyperlocal vernacular content is gaining popularity in India. About  70% of Indian consumers prefer content in regional language over Hindi and English, according to a consumer survey by global management consulting firm Zinnov.

Earlier this year, another local video news platform Awaaz had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from San Francisco-based venture capital firm Matrix Partners.

Vernacular social networking platforms are also gaining traction in India. ShareChat, a popular regional social media platform, recently raised $100 million.