Product Research Site for Gadgets, 91mobiles.com raises USD 1 mn funding

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91mobiles.com raised close to USD 1 million in a pre-Series a round from a set of investors led by India Quotient.

91mobiles.com is a gadget research site in India, with over 7.5 million visitors per month. 91mobiles provides information & interactive tools to help users research which mobile phone or gadget best suits their needs.

91mobiles was launched in mid-2010, with a small team of 4-5 people, and was able to build reach to 30,000 users per day, in its first year of launch. The user-base has doubled every year since then, to reach over 250,000 users per day in 2014. 91mobiles is now 45-people strong, and is head-quartered in Gurgaon, along with another office in Chennai. 91mobiles has an annual (net) revenue run-rate of over USD 1 million, and is aiming for 3-4X growth in the next two years.

The funds raised in this round will be invested in expanding the team, developing better research tools & content for the mobiles & tablets categories, and building a similar research experience for other gadget categories like wearables, laptops, cameras, and accessories. Funds will also be used to upgrade the existing mobile site and launch an Android application, as close to 50% of 91mobiles’ traffic is already coming from mobile devices.

The round of funding had participation from Anand Lunia led India Quotient, and a few other individuals including Umang Kumar, founder & CEO of Gaadi.com, and Krishna Motukuri, ex-CEO of Tradus.com.

India is the fastest-growing smartphone market in Asia(186% growth in units shipped in Q1 2014, as per IDC), and has seen a recent influx of several brands and devices. There are over a 100 brands, and 2,000 smartphones available in the Indian market today, and the choice for consumers is only slated to go up.

While there are gadget news sites that cover the latest happenings in the space, and price comparison sites that help users research the best price, what’s missing aregood sites that help users research the best device for their needs, from among the many options.

91mobiles aims to fill this gap by providing users tools& content to help research available gadget options and narrow down to the most suitable choice. The Phone Finder tool on 91mobiles powers over 100,000 searches every day, and provides an exhaustive listing of all available devices and their key specs. A proprietary spec score algorithm demystifies the relative quality of various devices by assigning a score to each device, by using data science to analyse over 40 data points for each phone. Shortlisted devices can be easily compared side-by-side, with the key differences highlighted in a natural-language format, using the Compare Mobiles tool, which powers 40,000 product comparisons daily.

Once users narrow down to a particular choice, detailed reviews and video overviews help users develop a better understanding of the device, while the ‘Alternatives’ feature helps fine-tune and arrive at the most optimal choice. Users researching a particular device spend 7-8 minutes on an average on device-specific content.

For those who are interested in purchasing the selected device, 91mobiles shows the best prices and deals from various online retailers where that device is available. People who research online, but prefer to buy from a physical store can also find a verified list of stores near their location. This service is currently available for around 1,000 stores in the major metro cities, but will be extended pan-India.

91mobiles drives close to USD 100 million of gadget sales to retailers listed on the site, and earns affiliate revenue from online gadget retailers, including Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, etc. In addition, 91mobiles also works with most of the leading gadget& telecom brands, such as Samsung, Micromax, Asus, Dell, Airtel etc. to provide advertising and branding solutions to promote their range of productsto 91mobiles’ gadget enthusiast user-base.

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