NearGroup Secures $1.6 Million in its Seed Round from OpenOcean, others

NearGroup

The online platform which provides a chatbot to users for chatting anonymously, NearGroup has raised a $1.6Million in its seed round led by OpenOcean. The round also saw the participation from Neotribe and BoostVC. The company will use the funding to expand in Asia Pacific, the US and Europe.

Patrik Backman, managing partner at OpenOcean said:

Traditional apps are at risk of getting uninstalled if they fail to find a good match for the user, resulting in high churn rates. With NearGroup, we have a chatbot that is not eating any real-estate on your mobile phone. Hence even after 2 months, they can still notify you about your newly-found match and get you back with 40% probability, which would be less than 5% on an app.

The company was founded a year ago by Prashant Pitti, who earlier served as a director at India’s 5th largest travel portal EaseMyTrip.com. The company’s chatbot (open in for Messenger) allows users to read the ‘stories’ of individuals nearby, and reply to people they want to start a conversation with.

The theory goes that by showing someone’s content first, not their face, you are more likely to find something in common and avoid the “body-shopping” culture of Tinder etc.

Pitti says:

We are transforming the social and dating culture in many countries where having an open dating profile may cause you trouble. That especially applies to girls and LGBT individuals. NearGroup solves this by making profiles hidden until users choose to selectively disclose them to those they’ve built a trusted conversation with.

It claims to have 2 million users and have transferred over 2 billion messages to date. The team is aiming for 100 million users within a year, and to bring nearby businesses onto the platform.

It now runs on FB messenger, Kik, Viber & Android, and there are plans for Twitter, iPhone, and Telegram.