News Brief

Indian Social Networking Startup Lands Another $12 Million

SMS GupShup, which runs a text messaging-based social networking service in India boasting 26 million users, has raised $12 million in a fourth-round venture funding round led by Globespan Capital Partners and including existing investors Charles River Ventures and Helion Venture Partners.

With $37 million in financing raised to date, Mumbai-based SMS GupShup is looking to expand rapidly, including into new markets like the Philippines and Indonesia. Internally, it has grown from 100 to 130 employees in the last two months and is seeking to add another 20 in areas such as marketing, engineering and ad sales. Despite the growing overhead, the company expects to turn a profit this year.

SMS GupShup says it now accounts for 5% of all text messages sent in India, which has about 500 million cell users. That total is expected to swell to 771 million by 2013, according to Gartner. SMS GupShup is also cultivating powerful alliances, cutting a deal with Facebook last year to deliver its users status updates via text messages. As part of the latest funding round, Venky Ganesan, managing director of Globespan Capital Partners, will join SMS GupShup's board. --Mark Walsh

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