By Biswarup Gooptu
NEW DELHI: Iluminar Media , which owns and operates curated online city and lifestyle guide Little Black Book , has closed a $1.2 million (about Rs 8 crore) round of funding, led by venture capital firm, IDG Ventures India , and Indian Angel Network (IAN).
The latest round comes little less than a year after the three year-old venture raised $150,000 from a clutch of well-known angel investors, a list that includes, Rajan Anandan, vice president and managing director of Google South-east Asia and India, Neeraj Singh, founding partner of Outbox Ventures, Sachin Bhatia, co-founder of MakeMyTrip.com and Singapore Angel Network, among others.
Founded by Hindu College alum Suchita Salwan and former Deloitte executive Dhruv Mathur in 2012, Little Black Book is a mobile and web platform that currently operates out of Delhi and Bengaluru. It provides local personalised content and discovery services to consumers.
Proceeds from the latest round of funding will be used by the company to expand its footprint across the country. According to the founders, Little Black Book plans to be present in every metro city in the country by the end of the current fiscal.
"LBB represents the type of new-age disruptive digital media company that we, as venture investors, are excited to partner with. LBB has created an immersive and engaged platform for consumers and brands across Delhi and Bangalore today and expanding that to five more cities in the near future," said Karan Mohla, executive director and head of Consumer Tech and Media at IDG Ventures .
The company will also use the capital raised towards further building its technology, data analytics and is mulling an entry into global markets as well.
"We have proven that urban consumers want to move beyond traditional Yelp-esque listing and aggregator platforms. They seek more than just food and event discoveries," Salwan said.
The company's revenue model is primarily ad-based and through lead generation. It has tied up with a number of merchants - local and global brands, and offers content ranging across categories, such as, food events, shopping, lifestyle and travel. It counts companies such as Coca Cola, Samsung, HTC and Airbnb, among others, as its partners.
"We will introducing new revenue streams, including enabling consumers to transact on the platform," Salwan told ET.
"What is interesting about LBB is that their unit economics is just brilliant. With a small team and minimal burn they have been able to build a pretty impressive brand image for themselves. Considering the fact that they have over 1 million users engaged across just 2 cities, now the potential is huge for scaling up not only in India but globally," said Rishabh Mehta, the IAN-nominated Board member.
The investment is also the first announced by IDG Ventures India's Digital Consumer Innovators Program, launched earlier this month.
The initiative, which counts former Myntra Chief Executive Mukesh Bansal as an advisor, will seek to assist startups across consumer technology and digital media space, including digital content, video and entertainment, vernacular and local languages, content-led commerce models, enabling platforms for consumer tech and consumer mobile applications.
The tech-focused venture capital firm has backed over 50 companies, including, FirstCry, Lenskart, Newgen, Yatra, NestAway, Perfint, Vserv and Manthan. It typically invests between $500,000-$10 million in sectors such as, consumer technology and digital media, software, health-tech and fin-tech.