Mobile software provider Webaroo brought in $11 million in first-round financing to continue developing its top product SMS Gupshup — a group text-messaging platform that allows users to blog and form communities on their mobile phones. Contributors to the India-based company included Charles River Ventures and Helion Venture Partners.
Today, GupShup has about 12 million users and 500 communities (split into categories like entertainment or sports). Webaroo hopes to capitalize on contextual advertising in the next year, but will use its new funds to reinforce sales and marketing efforts, and perhaps expand geographically. It got its start as an offline search engine, competing directly with Google Gears, but seems to be branching in a new direction with so much emphasis on mobile.