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Indian Internet cos get 29.5-m funding

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CIOL Bureau
New Update

BANGALORE: The Indian Internet space is evincing keen interest from investors across the world.

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Close on the heels of Internet ventures Guruji.com and Sulekha.com bagging lucrative investments from investors, the Indian Internet companies Mercantila and TutorVista have got $29.5 million funding from Lightspeed Ventures Partners (LVP).

While Mercantila Inc, an online retail venture, received $22.5 million in funding from the LVP, Tutor Vista, an online tutoring company, received $7 million funding from investors. Both companies have their primary operations based in Bangalore.

Mercantila, which began its operations in 1997, delivers specialty shopping experiences across stores in the home-goods, fitness and wellness markets. TutorVista offers online tutoring that uses voice and whiteboard to bridge the distance between student and tutor.

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For Lightspeed Ventures, a US-based provider of early stage venture capital to promising technology companies, this is its first major investment foray into India. The company has previously invested in a slew of companies such as Blue Nile, eHealth, Phone.com, DoubleClick, Informatica, Kiva Software and Riverbed technologies.

Putting in context the sudden spurt in interest in the Indian Internet companies, Ravi Mhatre, general partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners, said the venture capital financing segment was at an all time high with the buoyancy experienced by global markets, especially India and China,

“Internet technology companies are in the key focus set of global VCs and India will be at the forefront of the venture capital financing wave, “ he said, adding India’s booming economy coupled with a young, educated workforce makes India the preferred base for investments by foreign firms.

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“Indian domestic market is very strong, a whole new range of companies that would create the next generation market, would emerge in near future. In fact, the subcontinent is a strategic market for Lightspeed,” Mhatre said. Lightspeed is planning to setup base in Banglore in the next 12 months to reach out to the budding entrepreneurs with great ideas.

About Mercantila and Tutor Vista, he opined that both companies have the potential to become “huge companies” and also a vision to create a unique market space altogether.

Terming the funding as a millstone for company’s vision to become a global leader in online retail space, R Balakrishnan, managing director, Mercantila, said the investment would help the company to expand its operations.

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Mercantila’s Bangalore facility has complete ownership over core business processes including Market Research and Product Development, and currently has 100 employees, which the company will be increasing to 200 by the end of the year.

Chairman and founder, Tutor Vista, K Ganesh said the investment was a testament to company’s leadership in global online tutoring. “Lightspeed’s investment in Lightspeed’s investment will enable us to continue our rapid growth in the US and UK markets.”

Tutor Vista launched in 2005, works on subscription model and has 2200 students enrolled for the course in the US and UK.

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