Earlier this week, Kerala-based mobile VAS company MobME Wireless postponed its IPO plans and raised investment from a few angel investors who were planning to buy MobME’s shares through the IPO.
Elaborating on this postponement, MobME co-founder and CEO Sanjay Vijayakumar informed Medianama via email that MobME had initially planned an IPO offering since it needed funds to conduct pilots of Mobile Express and also see how the SME exchanges perform. However, the NSE’s approval process was delayed due to which they continued raising funds from private investors who had already shown interest in buying shares from the public market.
Note that MobME had received NSE approval in April 2013, two months after filing its draft red herring prospectus with the NSE’s Emerge SME platform to raise around Rs 25 crore (a little over $4 million).
$3 million angel investment by Agnus Capital and others
Vijayakumar also confirmed to Medianama that it has raised $3 million from private angel investors including Agnus Capital and the investment happened last year. A TechCircle report had earlier cited sources to say that MobME has raised $3 million in this round.
He said, they have been using the investment for conducting pilots of its mobile digital signature solution Mobile Express, which has tie-ups with mobile authentication and digital signature solution provider Valimo and digital security company Gemalto. MobME was using Valimo’s Mobile ID solution and Gemalto’s UpTeq PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) SIM cards to develop a secure authentication channel which enables legally binding digital signatures on transactions directly from mobile phones.
Vijayakumar claims that they also have a few banks and telecom operators on board for the pilot, but declined to disclose any further details on this until the pilots were completed. He added that these pilots are proof of concepts and thus are not capital intensive. MobME plans to raise further funds when they complete the pilot and start scaling it up for a commercial launch, which is expected to happen in the next 6-9 months.
Crowdfunding models for startups
Vijayakumar says that in the original IPO model, the company promoters used to go to public, request for funds and raise it to do business. However now IPOs are mostly for early investors to exit, which is fine from an investor perspective but doesn’t help startups raise cash.
Instead of the SME exchanges which requires the approval of the exchange, he says that startups should have a crowdfunding platform like KickStarter or Indiegogo. “If we have more simpler models, that are now coming from SEBI after budget announcements, it would be of great help to the startup community overall and at Startup Village, we are working with regulators to make necessary changes.” Vijayakumar added.
It’s worth noting that several India-based hardware startups have been experimenting with crowdfunding platforms for the past year or so, to gauge market response and also raise investment. This includes GSF India-backed Biosense Technologies and Bangalore-based Gecko. Earlier this month, online fan merchandising store Bluegape had also raised Rs 1.56 crore (under $250,000) from eight global angel investors via an online funding platform LetsVenture.com.
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