Mumbai: FRND, a Bengaluru-based audio romance & friend discovery startup, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding round led by South Korean gaming giant KRAFTON, Inc., the makers of the phenomenally popular battle royale game BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA (BGMI). This Series A round also saw participation from the company’s previous investors India Quotient and Elevation Capital.
FRND is founded by three IIT Kanpur alumni – Bhanu Pratap Singh Tanwar, Hardik Bansal and Harshvardhan Chhangani. It is a first-of-its-kind dating app developed for the next billion users. It allows youngsters to connect with each other through live-streamed formats like FRND Dating and audio games like Raja Rani Chor Police, Voice Match and other casual games, with focus on creating 1-on-1 connections. Users can connect via audio in a pseudo-anonymous manner and start conversations through a matchmaker. The matchmaker-led game and chat rooms on the platforms come with certain moderation systems that allow boys and girls to connect and have safe yet engaging conversations.
Bhanu, CEO and co-founder of FRND, said “There is a huge untapped opportunity in the Indian romance market, where youngsters connect and interact with the opposite gender over the internet. We have been working towards providing a safer platform to the Indian youth, especially girls. The security features and state-of-the-art algorithms make FRND just the right app for these next billion users to have a unique experience in a controlled way.” He further added, “We are thrilled to have received funding from KRAFTON, Inc. With this funding we are looking at growing FRND from the current 10 Indian languages, strengthen our technology ecosystem and increase our footprint both within India and internationally.”
Commenting on the investment, Sean Hyunil Sohn, Head of India Division at KRAFTON, Inc. said, “This investment is aligned with our efforts to intensify our commitment to the startup ecosystem in India. FRND is a unique product that is disrupting an entire category with a unique local solution that global companies will find tough to adapt to. We see great potential in this high-volume transaction digital startup and are happy to invest in their growth story. We are driven to making a difference to the digital ecosystem in this country and will continue exploring more such opportunities where we can back young and growing start-ups”
FRND is currently available on Google Play store, and an average user spends approximately 25 minutes each day using the app.