Gram Vaani Community Media Pvt Ltd., a social technology company based in Delhi, India, has raised $500,000 in its first ever equity investment round. The investors that participated in this round are largely unidentified but, according to techcircle.in, Indian Angel Network, one of the country's leading angel investors, contributed.
The equity investment will be put toward growing the Mobile Vaani network, which includes hiring a new batch of talented people to spur on "technology development."
Mobile Vaani, the company's flagship offering, is an interactive voice response (IVR) system that allows people to call a number to leave a message, or listen to messages left by others. This may seem elementary, but it is an excellent way to keep remote communities in touch with stakeholders.
A recent report from Aricent Group (News - Alert) identified India's large number of remote rural communities as a prime factor for the growth of voice over LTE (VoLTE) in the country. Until wireless infrastructure improves in those areas, however, Mobile Vaani offers an excellent way for rural residents to stay somewhat connected.
Gram Vaani was founded in 2009 by CEO Aaditeshwar Seth and Mayank Shivam and currently has a team of 10. Prior to that, Seth — along with Bala-chandran Chandrasekhara and Zahir Karodia — invented Grameen Radio Internetworking System (GRINS), which is now a Gram Vaani offering.
GRINS is an integrated software solution for running a community radio station by facilitating program scheduling and play-out, telephony and SMS integration, Internet streaming, content management, and statistical analysis of play-out history — just about everything needed to get a station running and keep it effective.
Gram Vaani also offers a news-over-phone citizen journalism service, launched in 2011, that enables around two million people in parts of India, Afghanistan and Pakistan to create their own local media easily.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey