Hyperlocal social media platform Lokal is in talks to raise $20 million in a new round from new and existing backers, according to two people aware of the development.
This is the first round of investment for the Bengaluru-based company in 2022.
“Lokal has been in talks to raise $20 million from two new investors along with existing backers as the company is looking to expand in the Southeast Asia countries,” said one of the sources on the condition of anonymity as talks are private.
Founded by Jani Pasha and Vipul Chaudhary in 2018, Lokal serves news to vernacular audiences based on their location. Lokal also allows users to download videos and set WhatsApp status, including quizzes and Q&A sessions for employment exam preparation and getting updates on real estate and commodity prices.
Lokal is primarily creating a network of stringers and freelance scribes who churn original reporting around the local issues. It also offers content-led digital marketing solutions for SMEs and brands targeting tier II and III towns. Currently, it is present in more than 180 districts in seven states including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
“The terms of the deal being finalized at the moment which would value Lokal in the range of $60-80 million,” said another source who also requested anonymity. “The company already has received commitments from its early backers like India Quotient.”
In October 2021, TechCrunch reported that Tencent had invested in Lokal. However, Entrackr couldn’t find any ownership of the Chinese giant in Lokal and the company has declined to comment on this.
“The company’s fundraising plans, as it has in the past, will be announced upon achieving financial closure,” said Lokal in a response to our queries. Queries sent to Tencent and India Quotient did not elicit any response. We will update the story in case they respond.
As per Sensor Tower data, Lokal has amassed nearly 30 million downloads on Google Play Store. Earlier this year, the company claimed that it saw 8X jumps in its user base from March 2020 to December 2021, and it expects it to grow by 10x more in 2022-23.