Webaroo has raised $10 million in a recent round of funding for its product SMSGupshup. Webaroo was founded by IIT Bombay alumnus and serial entrepreneurs Rakesh Mathur (founder of Armedia, Junglee, Stratify) and Beerud Sheth (founder of Elance) in 2004. Webaroo is one of the incubatees of SINE, IIT Bombay.
I was an intern at Webaroo, contributed to the personalization logic of its products, when they were under development.
SMS GupShup is mobile group SMS service that allows users to create mobile communities and broadcast messages to them, similar to twitter, but more like yahoo/google groups for mobile. Currently, GupShup sends SMS messages only to Indian mobile phone numbers. It is being used by over 300,000 publishers sending around 10M messages per day. SMS to mobile devices is one of the major costs for Webaroo.
Webaroo started with their product for offline browsing, which didn’t strike the market well, even after a couple of years of the launch. With Google gears competition, its life ahead, is even tougher. I think one of the reasons why webaroo couldn’t pick up is due to the focus on caching static content, while google gears, powered easy caching and sync of dynamic content. Remember The Milk and Google reader are my favorite apps which I use over google gears.
Earlier, Rakesh Mathur with other founders, sold Junglee to Amazon in 1998 for about $250 million. Junglee had Stanford professor Jeff Ullman on their board, who was also advising Google folks that time. Interestingly, after making a good money, Rakesh Mathur & team approached their friends Larry Page and Sergey Brin to acquire Google. But the deal could not happen as Sergey was looking for a ten digit price.