Mobile value added services startup Innoz is returning the money it raised from Seedfund, as its founders move to the Silicon Valley to build another app called Quest.
Deepak Ravindran, the CEO & Founder of Innoz told NextBigWhat in an e-mail:
This is a separate entity outside Innoz. Hisham and I will be running both Innoz and Quest in parallel.
The company had raised $3 mn from Seedfund in April 2012. Ravindran & Hisham, his co-founder at Innoz, have already moved to the Valley.
The company has also raised $500,000 from Valley based incubator 500 Startups to develop Quest, a location aware app that uses people nearby to get questions answered for the members of its community (via). Quest has advisers like Pranav Mistry, Asha Jadeja and Kyron founder, Louis Monier on board.
The VAShout of VAS Business in India
At the time, it had answered 1.3 billion queries from 7 different countries over its SMS based platform called Smart SMS. Users can send a query to 55444 as a text message for replies.
In December last year, the company served a billion queries over its SMS platform.
Value added services in India, has lost much steam in the last few months as the telecom regulator made it tougher for operators to sell them to customers (for instance Airtel, one of Innoz key customers is promoting messaging apps/data over SMS) .
Moreover, Innoz, which is an SMS based platform might not be favorably positioned for the future as mobile Internet picks up increasingly fast in India. As we’d written in our 2014 startup predictions, this year will be a Vashout year.
Apps like Whatsapp & Line have have gathered millions of users in the country (Read: The Indian Mobile App Race: The Race Mobile Messengers Are Winning), dealing a blow to SMS services. Telecom companies, are also now pushing data based services as they invest in 3G and 4G infrastructure.
*We are talking to Deepak for more on this. More updates to follow.