LAHORE ( HAFEEZ REPORT )
Groopic, a Pakistani technology startup founded by four students and researchers of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), has just closed a US$ six figures investment from Kima Ventures, the seed stage fund that also financed Shopistan recently. Based on details of the funding disclosed by Groopic, the investment is in the form of a debt convertible to equity with a maturity of 18 months that can value the company at US$ low seven figures at conversion to equity assuming a qualified financing event takes place. The company is also bringing on board a seasoned and very successful US based business development partner who will be working with the founding team in exchange for an undisclosed share of equity in the business.
Groopic started its journey at the Startup Weekend organized by LUMS back in February of 2012. The team of four – Ali Rehan, Amer Zaheer, Murtaza Taj and Abdul Rehman, all computer scientists conducting computer vision research at LUMS under the supervision of Dr. Sohaib Khan – won the competition and even managed to woo an investor at the event although they didn’t accept his investment offer.
The company’s first product, an Android and iPhone photo app, called Groopic that allows the photographer to be a part of any picture he/she takes has received a lot of media coverage in local as well as international press including CNN and TechCrunch.
In October, the team started work on their second product that aims to disrupt the video advertising market. Pre-roll, post-roll and banner advertisements on video content have typically been considered intrusive by the consumer. By employing their combined 30+ years of research in the field of computer vision at LUMS, the team has developed technology to solve this problem and allow for content producers and publishers to monetize the video content through non-intrusive advertisements.
Talking about the investment, Ali Rehan, CEO of Groopic said, “There is a lot of investment interest in Pakistani startups, both from local as well as international investors. We actually had offers from multiple interested parties, a couple of them introduced by the LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, but decided to take the offer from Kima Ventures because it provided best overall value addition to the company aside from the capital injection.”
“This is excellent news for the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Pakistan. Recent investments in Popinjay, Shopistan, Zameen.com and now Groopic are testament to the increasing interest and confidence of investors in local startup businesses,” said Khurram Zafar, Executive Director of LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, who has been advising Groopic during their fund raising.
The company intends to use the capital to build out the development team (yes, they are hiring!), improve the product, and engage in marketing and sales activities in the international market.