Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

Chatbot Startup NearGroup Raises £1.2M in Seed from OpenOcean

NearGroup, a company that developed a chatbot allowing users to find and connect with like-minded people nearby, has secured £1.2 million in a seed round led by London-based fund OpenOcean, and also backed by Neotribe and BoostVC.

The product is geared towards Middle-Eastern or Asian countries where picture-based dating apps are not easy or safe to use, especially among members of the LGBT community.

NearGroup goes around that hurdle by removing the image element, and basing the connection suggestions more on personality and talent (showcasing user-produced drawings, poems or music.)

The company also makes the case that its emphasis on personality makes it more likely for users to connect with someone who really shares their interests, passions, and worldview.

NearGroup chatbot is currently  available on Facebook Messenger, Kik, Viber and Android, and more versions are expected to come out for Twitter , Telegram and iPhone.

The company claims to already have two million users, and it says to be aiming for 100 million users within 12 months. The fresh round of funding will be used to fuel the company’s expansion across Asia Pacific, and penetrate the US and Europe markets.

“We are transforming the social and dating culture in many countries where having an open dating profile may cause you trouble,” company founder Prashant Pitti said in a statement. “NearGroup solves this by making profiles hidden until users choose to selectively disclose them to those they’ve built a trusted conversation with.”

OpenOcean managing partner  Patrik Backman also commented on the investment: “Traditional apps are at risk of getting uninstalled if they fail to find a good match for the user, resulting in high churn rates. With NearGroup, we have a chatbot that is not eating any real-estate on your mobile phone. Hence even after 2 months, they can still notify you about your newly-found match and get you back with 40% probability, which would be less than 5% on an app.”

Image via NearGroup


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