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joota

A win for social startups: Malaysia’s Joota secures $700K funding round

Joot Ventures Sdn Bhd, the company that developed Joota, a social content network, today announced that it has secured a total of USD 700K funding from two investment sources — US$500K from Interactive E Solutions JLT of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and, US$200K from an undisclosed individual angel investor. The new cash infusion will boost the startup’s finance product development and support its global marketing moves.

The news shows that social startups still manage to attract investment, at least in Malaysia. Overall, social ventures appear to have lost some sheen in recent times.

Prior to the latest funding rounds Joota managed to raise about US$1.6 million in funding.

Launched as a beta in June last year, Joota’s web-based platform is a spin on social bookmarking, allowing people to connect around content.

In an age of “information overload”, Shahid Mahmud, Chairman/CEO Interactive Group believes that Joota’s ability to filter content into manageable information clusters, makes the startup an attractive investment bet.

“The way Joota engages online community around content is very interesting. Broadband markets offer immense appetite for social networking and content sharing,” says Mahmud.

Interactive Group is the leading ICT provider in Pakistan and provides products and services in the ICT domain to the public and corporate sector in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey.

How does it work? As is tradition with social bookmarking sites, Joota uses a bookmarklet to collect content from the web. A collected item — text, video or image — called a “joot”, opens the door for discussion and gets added into a category pool of bookmarks. The categories are essentially socially curated lists of interesting items. Users can share content they have collected and curated with friends on social networks and embed “joots” on blogs and websites.

Ashran Ghazi, co-founder and COO at Joota says that the startup wants to help people build meaningful social networks around content. “That is why we are making this a reality using our platform that connects people through content that they’re interested in. On Joota, we provide users with a tool to easily select content that are relevant to them and discover like-minded people on the same platform. This is important in building a meaningful relationship,” said Ghazi.

Joot is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with an office in Portland, Oregon, USA.