Open-Source Chat Platform Scrollback Raises $400,000 Seed Round

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Scrollback, a free open-source chat platform for online communities, has raised $500,000 Singaporean dollars (about $400,000) led by Jungle Ventures, with participation from Singapore’s National Research Foundation, Crystal Horse Investments, Singapore Angel Network, Roland Turner, and other angel investors.

The service is essentially a chat widget that can be embedded into online websites and accessed through mobile apps. If you run a site, you are probably wondering how Scrollback is different from software by other companies like MyLiveChat or Chatwee, or commenting platforms such as Livefyre and Disqus. On the other hand, if you spend a lot of time in forums, Facebook groups, or on apps like Yik Yak (and even the newly launched Facebook Rooms), you might not be sure how to fit yet another chat platform into your life.

Co-founder Aravind Ravi-Sulekha believes, however, that there is still room for Scrollback to succeed by providing a simple, real-time chat widget that even casual browsers of a forum can participate in. For example, you don’t have to be a member of a community or website to use its Scrollback widget. Since each site’s Scrollback is integrated with a mobile app, users can follow a chat whether they are on their PC or smartphone. Discussions are public, but Scrollback is currently working on a private chat function.

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Since its launch in 2013 at Singapore-based incubator program JFDI.Asia, Scrollback has gained 45,000 monthly active users, while 700 groups have been created on the platform since its launch.

In addition to being embedded on sites like Mozilla India and HasGeek, Scrollback has also been used as a networking app at conferences such as the recent JSConf.Asia. Ravi-Sulekha says that Scrollback has seen the most traction in Southeast Asia and India, as well as Spanish-speaking communities around the world, but it hopes to target “any online community that would otherwise use a forum.”

Scrollback plans to monetize using a freemium model, charging for features such as private community discussions and advanced moderation tools. The startup will use its seed funding to build mobile apps, work on its technology, and on marketing.