Bengaluru, June 10, 2019: Bengaluru based Indian language knowledge sharing community Bolo has raised Rs. 3 crore in seed funding led by Nexus Venture Partners with participation from Unacademy founders Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh, Growth Story founders Ganesh Krishnan and Srinivas Anumolu and Newsdog founder Chen Yukun. The funding will be used to strengthen the team across product, technology and operations.
Bolo is a knowledge sharing community that allows users to ask and answer questions in Hindi. The answers are in the form of short videos of less than 1 minute each. Additionally, users can directly video call with experts on the platform for a small fee to get highly personalised solutions to their problems. The app is currently available in Hindi language and the most popular categories on the app are Beauty and Fashion, Fitness, Cooking and Career counselling.
The vernacular platform was launched in July 2018 by Nishant Chandra and Siddharth Maheshwari. The founding team comes with a rich background in technology, product and business growth. Nishant and Siddharth studied B.Tech. at IIT Roorkee. After finishing his MBA from IIM Calcutta, Nishant worked with Unacademy in senior roles in Product and Growth functions. Siddharth has been founder of Flicksup – an AI based content discovery platform. Having roots from small towns themselves, the friends from college started Bolo when they observed a huge vacuum in reliable informational content for users from Tier 2/3 cities.
Nishant Chandra, Co-founder, Bolo, says, “We believe India is at an inflection point due to the rapid adoption of internet and payment infrastructure. We aim to enable knowledge sharing among Indians coming online for the first time in a format they prefer and the language that they’re comfortable with. We’re delighted to partner with investors who have a deep understanding of the content ecosystem of India and China and their experience of building and scaling consumer internet platforms would add tremendous value in our journey.”
Pratik Poddar, Nexus Venture Partners, adds, “We continue to be bullish on Indian language consumption story. We saw a shift in the behaviour pattern that people were searching on YouTube for information as some would on Google, and now looking for information in video format which is trustworthy and easy to consume – but there is lack of supply of structured content and discoverability is a problem. We knew of the team when they were ideating and that the team iterates fast and is very solid in managing supply and creating community. When Nishant and Siddharth explained they were ideating along these lines, we knew we had to be a part of the story. We are together imagining creation of the largest information community of India here (primarily in lifestyle categories), and are proud to be partners”.
“We recently launched a feature where people can consult experts over video call. This will allow us to onboard the topmost experts on our platform because this provides them an avenue to generate income. They in turn are creating high quality, long shelf life content on the platform driving engagement further. We are finding that Indians are highly aspirational and willing to pay to get personalised solutions to their problems”, says Siddharth Maheshwari, Co-Founder, Bolo.
400 million Indians have come on to the internet over the last 4 years. More than 75% of the total users will be Indian language users by 2021. Apps focussing on utility, entertainment and news already serve millions of people and knowledge sharing communities like Bolo are rising rapidly as people start looking for information.