Award-winning social alarm service Budist.ru secures $2 million for international expansion
If you would like to be woken up tomorrow morning by a friendly stranger’s call instead of a typical alarm, this application is for you. Social alarm clock Budist.ru enables you to set up the date and time you wish to be awoken, and a volunteer will call you at that exact time. The service is anonymous: “budist” volunteers place a call to the service number whiсh automatically redirects the call to sleepy mobile users.
“Budist” is a play on the word “buddhist,” but has nothing to do with Buddhism. Derived from the Russian verb “budit” or “wake up someone,” the word means “someone who wakes you up.” It has been translated into English as ‘Wakie.’
The service has been deployed across Russia since September 2011, a few months after its inception. Budist.ru claims to have served over 700,000 users to date, with an audience increasing by 10% every week.
Last year, Budist.ru won the ‘Startup of the year’ award at the Runet Prize competition and walked away with the first prize at a Startup Monthly competition in the US.
The startup received initial funding from a group of angel investors last summer, before getting a $25,000 grant from ‘Start Fellow,’ the grant project of Yuri Milner and Pavel Durov.
Two weeks ago, Budist.ru secured its Series A round of financing from Leta GIV, the corporate venture arm of Leta Group. The fund has injected “a little more than $2 million” based on a pre-money valuation of “approximately $7 million,” said Senior Investment Manager Sergey Toporov in an exchange with East-West Digital News.
The investment will be used for the startup’s international expansion, starting with localization in English, Spanish, and Chinese languages, Budist.ru founder Grachik Adzhamyan told EWDN. The startup is ready to team up with telecommunication partners in different countries to provide VoIP and SMS services, he added.