Blog Post

Social Networking Site Minglebox Receives $7 Million In Funding Fron Sequoia Capital

You’re reading it here first: Indian social networking site Minglebox has received $7 million in funding from Sequoia Capital India. Minglebox was started by three IIT Delhi alumni – Kavita Iyer, Sanjay Aggarwal and Sushma Abburi, who have previously worked in companies like Yahoo, i2, ICICI, Wipro, HLL and Infosys. R.Ramaraj, ex-CEO and co-founder of Sify has joined the board of Minglebox.

The company has apparently adopted a different approach to populating its social network – they’ve focused on creating communities for colleges and trying to emulate a college hangout online, which is one of the things people use Orkut (yeah, we keep going back to Orkut, don’t we?) for. Minglebox has a bunch of other usual stuff: blogs, photos and videos. Most videos are from YouTube, and there is (again) some copyrighted Bollywood content embedded from YouTube…I wonder who’s liable in this case – the user who uploads; YouTube, which publishes and facilitates sharing; or Minglebox, where the video is embedded…that’s a problem that many social networks with video content are facing today.

ContentSutra has learned that Minglebox has content tie-ups with music labels including HMV, for the music content they stream via their jukebox. The funding will be used for product development, technology innovation and expansion of market reach.

Update: I asked Kavita Iyer, CEO of Minglebox about how they plan to compete in this rather overcrowded social networking space in India. She says that they’re trying to emulate the college Intranet, to connect students and ex-students – stickiness will come from creating close knit communities. Minglebox next wants to create communities for workspaces. But what about the monetization? Iyer says it will come from advertising and branded communities, but that’s for later. Right now, they’re more focused on phase 1, which is about about creating a community. Tie-ups for college festivals is on the anvil. About the mobile space, Iyer says that they will launch gprs based products at some point in time, but are not too keen on SMS products, even though they have those ready.

48 Responses to “Social Networking Site Minglebox Receives $7 Million In Funding Fron Sequoia Capital”

  1. Why do we need another social networking site? Although I believe in SN I don't think there is a play here just for the Indian market. By the way there is a decent post on how to utilize the power of SN for growing your business on:

  2. Singh

    "All social networking sites do product innovation only through spams"

    Umm…that's not product innovation – it's marketing.

  3. does anyone know how many users they have? I remember they were spamming a bunch of orkut users a few months back…..their traffic stats from Alexa are pretty awful……but that could change quickly…..especially when you have 7 million to build traffic and do product innovation (when 50,000th social network in the world uses that word it really cracks me up)……

  4. i study in a bangalore college and got invited by my friends to our page on minglebox.. its different for sure and we're still discovering all the features…

  5. Rahul has a nice article on the whole thing and funding stuff. nice comparison between kleiner perkins and sequoia…i think they do more justice to social networks than contentsutra

  6. "Most of the profiles here are created and forgotten; groups/communities with ust members and no activities."

    hmm… the second is true of orkut more than anything else, but that's where the differentiation comes in.. orkut has not changed much for the last 5 years – and why should they – they're doing well in india and brazil..

    more importantly – what do you do on orkut? scrap each other and… and?

    now fast forward 3 years.. india has broadband penetration.. where's orkut? if they innovate – still on top – if they don't? you're still only scrapping?

    look at the younger generation (kids in school) – compare their internet usage with ours – bring in broadband, wireless, in schools, colleges the works and add it all up and you have the need for places for people to exchange their lives online.

    does orkut provide a solution to that need? partially..

    hence, the growth in indian social networking..

  7. dating and social networking are different worlds
    minglebox seems unique in its offering, can't compare it to fropper's old avatar atleast. From the names of the companies listed above, it looks like there is enough within the team to pull off a big one here
    does anyone know how big is the user base on mingle? general browsing experience is pretty good and i get a sense that there are a lot of people already. and whats with the alpha label

  8. New Hat

    There is a right time for everything and so is true for web 2.0 companies
    I know that there are good reasons to be skeptical about yet another SN site but then again there is no strong domestic player in this space (acknowledge that there is a lot of noise) and there is surely space for more than one :)

    I think minglebox is doing a great job. they seem to be working closely with their users – I find something new there every week and the look of the site has also improved nicely in the last few months. Their focus on building authentic college communities has a lot of potential. We will have to wait and see where does it all go …
    … good luck minglebox !!

  9. Old Hand

    There WAS an Indian and global company in the dot com days, which WAS about social networking (only the term had not been invented then), which went to college campuses to get users and "create communities", and which got more than $7m in funding. Anyone remember what happened?

    Minglebox (and its investors), learn from history, FAST, and don't repeat the mistakes!

  10. Fropper started as a dating site., And now they completely changed their vision to social networking site. – A big change in vision

    Now there are a dozen, "me too, Join us" kind of social networking sites.,
    What kind of analysis these VC's do before dumping money into anything and everything?,
    Atleast , if the focus is targetting college guys, They should host sites for every college and create events, enable communication between the students through a hosted email solutions to become popular,

  11. Kavita is married to a Sequoia guy and they have an investment in Fropper. How does one ensure information about Fropper's plans does not leak to Kavita? Talk about insider information and conflicts of interest! And I wonder what level of diligence was really done. This whole family business is always dodgy – so much for professional, operational and informed investors!!!!

  12. "Can see biased attitude in this article…"

    Well, that's ridiculous – I'm skeptical about every initiative, and that's the nature of our publication. Yeah, Vivek's my cousin, but that has no impact on how we cover other businesses. Also, DesiMartini doesn't yet meet our editorial criteria, and we won't cover it until it does. When we do, we'll be critical of it too.

  13. anamika

    The author of this article "Nikhil Pahwa" seems to have a connection with "Vivek Pahwa" – founder of Desimartini, besides the name :P …

    Can see biased attitude in this article…

    Good Luck to minglebox!

  14. Mindtree

    Hey heard these guruji(sequoia backed) guys raising some good investments..the search engine rocks and they already eating into the google market slowly, they certainly deserve an award for the best indian product. any news on whats there next gameplan..m sure sequoia is betting big time on them as they did with google long before remember.any views

  15. Besides Orkut (for social networking) & Linked In / Ryze / Open BC (for business networking) are anyone of the following websites getting traffic:
    – Fropper (holds some ground now – none major)
    – Desimartini (the advt doesnt tempt users to log on.. does it?)
    – Bigadda (coming up)
    – Minglebox (who even heard of it)

    Most of the profiles here are created and forgotten; groups/communities with ust members and no activities.

    There is no reason why users will move from Orkut to these sites. If they have too, they need a strong differentiator – which cant be seen in either of it.

  16. fropper ,now mingle box are funded.any other socialnets in India who have recieved funding.whats the funding status for indyarocks-any idea

  17. Vivek

    to "lets open our eyes": actually Kavita is Sandeep Singhal's (Sequoia India MD) wife, but having said that its not an underhand deal. there is no harm in investing in well run family businesses :-)

    I am more concerned about how Sequoia manages the conflict with as People Interactive, the parent company of has also raised $8M from Sequoia.

    Basically Sequoia is keeping money in two of the most trafficked community sites in India after Orkut, so if either one wins they win.

    Smart but also shows they have no idea whats going to work in India. So much for operational expertise from VCs

  18. Praveen

    Yea.. This is weird. We have one guy who says Social Networking is dead and the other is pumping 7M into it. Sometimes, I feel Angel investors do more research than VC firms !

    Having said that, I think Sequoia Capital is betting on the whole Web1.0/2.0 scene in India. They pumped 7M into Guruji and now this. I think they are going to evenly distribute their portfolio, hoping that one of them will click. Or they will combine all these companies and become one big media portal?

  19. Their idea of creating a community around College is not unique . FACEBOOK did it first most of the colleges like IIT and IIM have there pages on FACEBOOK

    i think sponsoring the college fest is a good idea . I remember Bazze did it at IITK and a lot of folks at IIT became a BIGTIme Bazzy user later .

    they have right Tech competency though i like their UI . they are learning form every other website . each feature reminds me of one website or other . but over all they have done a good job with Core engine .
    Now the next challenge is to get user base . $7 Million is enough to ensure that i guess .

    Next few month will be interesting . Good Luck to Kavita and Her Team

  20. lets open our eyes

    HELOOOO- is this a real deal or under the table deal.Is krishnan.iyer of sequoia a relative of kavita iyer-just wondering WHY minglebox-

    its literally a zero value site.
    now beginning to wonder the integrity of INSIDERS

  21. Vineet

    What happened to Sanjay Mittal ? I think he was in the management team at Minglebox but no longer there at Minglebox. Has he left ?