In a bid to expand its reach among non-English and non-Hindi speaking mobile users in India, locally-made mobile messaging app GupShup is going multi-lingual.
Nine Indian regional languages namely Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu have been made available along with English.
With these nine languages newly added, GupShup can strategically target users in states where people speak local languages rather than English or Hindi. Localization of the platform does offer an edge to GupShup against the rise of other mobile chat apps such as WeChat, Line, Whatsapp, Nimbuzz, and others that predominately are English-based or support Hindi to an extent.
It seems group SMS service platform GupShup is trying to capitalise on increasing concept of “SoLoMo” i.e. Social, Local and Mobile. Though it is still far from being a local search service integrated with geo-location technology, but it could be moving on those directions.
GupShup also introduced regional keyboard features to facilitate local language users.
GupShup was founded by IIT-Mumbai and MIT computer science graduate Beerud Sheth in early 2005 with seed capital of $1 million raised from personal savings, close friends, and family relatives. It was originally called SMS Gupshup as it was based around text messaging. It allows users to create communities and groups on varying topics like finance, politics, entertainment, sports and many others.
Back in 2011, the company raised a Series E round of $10 million which was led by US-based venture capital firm Tenaya Capital, and included existing investors Lloyd George, New Horizons,Charles River Ventures, Helion Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners. To date it has secured a total of $47 million in capital.
The messaging service is available on mobile (Android, Blackberry, iOS, Symbian series 40 handsets) and can be accessed by web, SMS, wap or mobile apps. According to the company, 2 million messages are exchanged on its network every month.
GupShup claims to have roughly 65 million users. Beside the platform for mobile users, GupShup also has an enterprise edition targeted at Indian businesses.