AppsForBharat, a product studio focused on building apps for the spiritual and devotional needs of Indian users, has scooped up $10 million in a Series A funding round led by Elevation Capital with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital India, BEENEXT and Matrix Partners India.
Apart from that, a number of prominent angel investors also participated in the financing round including the likes of Scott Schleifer (partner, Tiger Global), Saurabh Gupta (managing partner, DST Global), Ankush Sachdeva, Farid Ahsan and Bhanu Pratap Singh (co-founders, ShareChat), Utsav Somani (partner, iSeed), Anshumani Ruddra (group PM, Google), Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal (co-founders, Meesho), Kunal Shah (founder, CRED) and Sai Srinivas (MPL).
In a statement, the company said it will use the fresh funds for creating content IPs, building the product, and hiring talent across product, data and engineering verticals.
Before this, AppsForBharat had raised $4 million in seed funding co-led by Sequoia Capital India and BEENEXT which also saw participation from WEH Ventures. Entrackr had exclusively reported on the round in May.
Founded in November 2020 by Prashant Sachan, AppsForBharat is currently developing a range of mobile apps that offer superior user experience and cater to the country’s many underserved and often overlooked spiritual as well as devotional needs. Sachan was the co-founder of the lifestyle centric short video app Trell until March 2021.
The company’s first product, SriMandir, aims to allow users to create their personalised shrines, consume devotional content, connect with prayer groups, and access a large library of spiritual texts, scriptures and videos. They can also participate in personalised discourses and consult with astrologers and priests.
As per Sensor Tower data, SriMandir has garnered over 1.3 million downloads on the Google Play Store.
While AppsForBharat has no direct competitors, however, it competes with all large players who are operating in verticals like spirituality, devotion and Astro. Sutradhar, MyMandir, 27 Mantra among a few others are notable players in the devotional and religious domains.
The subsequent funding rounds in the company show that venture capitalists are open to back opportunities in the spiritual and devotional space. The space is attractive for investors due to its large audience size and increasing smartphone penetration.
According to an Expert Market Research report, the religion and spirituality market in India was approximately worth $44 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow with a CAGR of 10%.
However, not every service in the space has been successful. While there were several startups that cropped up in recent times to capture the opportunity through content and commerce, many startups over the years had tried different models but they didn’t scale and failed to attract investors’ attention.