Frrole, a big data startup that specializes in Twitter-based analytics, has raised $245K in Angel funding from investors including Sharad Sharma (former head of Yahoo! R&D centre in india), Google’s India MD Rajan Anandan and Eka Software founder Manav Garg.
Based in Bangalore, the startup raised this capital on LetsVenture, a crowd funding platform launched last year to help Indian startups find angel investors from across the globe.
As we wrote earlier this month, Frrole is among a growing breed of big data startups from India beginning to scale. Frrole sifts through half a billion Twitter posts every month to offer insights about users. For television channels and political parties aiming to get the pulse of what’s buzzing on Twitter, insights from Frrole cost about $100 per month per data stream. The startup analyses over 10 million tweets daily and has sifted through over 100 million tweets since January this year.
The challenge for Frrole going forward would be to keep up with the frenetic pace at which Twitter is growing, especially amid the election season in India.
“We have built a decent system, but it is far away from competitive scale yet (we work with around half a billion tweets a month, Twitter has half a billion everyday). It works ok for us as we have started with focus on India market, but we are super-aggressive with our goals,” said Amarpreet Kalkat, co-founder of Frrole.
“These are early days all said and done. As I said, we are just processing 2-3% of twitter data right now, whereas we plan to process the whole social web,” he added.
But just Twitter-based data analytics will not be enough for Frrole to compete globally. To this end, the startup is already looking to build better layers of semantic analysis and some new layers of contextual analysis
“We would probably build algorithms targeted at verticals beyond media and brands, and might go for retail and a few others. There is something we have experimented with, we call it ‘Behaviour as a service’,” said Kalkat.
Frrole’s angel round also reflects the trend of online crowd funding platforms gaining momentum in India, as startups look beyond traditional investors’ networks in the country. While still early, LetsVenture has managed to gain good traction among startups, and more importantly — has been able to attract angel investors from far off locations in Russia and Ukraine who are now looking to actively invest in Indian startups.
As we wrote in March this year, while there are active angel networks in the country, the early money and guidance is never enough for startups attempting to get the best deals on funding and access to newer markets. And this is encouraging LetsVenture, Globevestor and others to build online crowd funding businesses, disrupt the existing angel networks in India.
However, there are challenges facing startups, investors looking to connect and transact over a crowd funding platform.
“I think it’s a mixed bag — while data seems to be reflecting decent number of Indians contributing to crowd funding, I am not sure given our general disposition. Anyways, crowd funding money tends to tilt towards ‘cool’ stuff, which very few Indian startups happen to go for,” said Kalkat of Frrole.