Pelago Raises $15M for International Expansion (updated)

Seattle-based Pelago, a LBS company specializing in social networking and local discovery, has announced today it has raised $15 million in a second round of funding. This round is intended to expand the activities of the company in Europe and Asia.

Two of the company's new investors are indeed well-positioned to help with this international move -Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile unit and Reliance Technology Ventures of India, a subsidiary of the Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA Group. Other investors in the round are DAG Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer (KPCB), Trilogy Equity Partners and Bezos Expeditions. This round follows an initial $7.4 million financing in 2006.

Whrrl, the application developed by Pelago, is a mix of recommendation-based local search and friend finder. Pelago expects to create revenue by using the consumer behavior database it has created in the back-end of this social network. Both Pelago co-founder, Jeff Holden, CEO and Darren Vengroff, CTO, have been working at Amazon on consumer behavior topics. (read our previous story here).

Pelago is expected to launch an iPhone application next month when the iPhone App store is running. The company is working closely with Apple - via the iFund recently launched by KPCB to fund new companies developing innovative mobile applications for the iPhone (read here our interview with Matt Murphy on this topic).

Major competitors to Pelago include Silicon Valley-based Loopt and Amsterdam-based Geosentric (GyPSii being the name of its application). Loopt has been pioneering the field in the United States and already signed deals with leading wireless operators Sprint and Verizon Wireless. GyPSii has particularly been active in Asia where it has signed partnerships in India and China.

T-Mobile Venture Fund, led the round and Stephan Noll, its Managing Director, will take a seat on the Pelago board of directors.

Tuesday, May 27th 2008

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