Elephanti.com sold by Afternic.com raises $4.5m

Elephanti.com appears to have been sold by Afternic.com and has now raised $4.5m in funding. The sale appears to have been NDA as I can’t find anything from the historical sale records that Afternic.com / BuyDomains.com releases weekly.

The domain was registered all the way back in 2004 during that time it remained parked on Mike Mann’s SEEQ.com search engine that was later sold in 2005 and then switched to BuyDomains.com Parked / For Sale Lander page and appears to have left the BuyDomains.com servers around 2011 when the registrar was switched to GoDaddy.com however Elephanti.com didn’t launch until 2012.

Here is who bought Elephanti.com

Elephanti was founded and designed by Lalin Michael Jinasena, an award-winning designer based in Singapore.

Lalin, who enjoys the occasional shopping spree and owns a number of hotels, cafes and retail businesses, recognized the need for a social platform specifically dedicated to shoppers and merchants. He envisioned a digital platform that would enable shoppers to explore, discover and interact with brands, stores and venues without cluttering up their social spaces. He recruited a talented team of 40 guys and girls in Sri Lanka, and over the past one and a half years designed and developed Elephanti.

Elephanti soft launched in New York, at the 2012 Internet Week New York (www.internetweekny.com), and was well received by the digital community. The Elephanti app was officially launched in early September 2012 on the App Store, followed by an Android version later in the month.

What do you think of the domain?

Do you think this was a Four, Five or Six Figure Sale?

Read the full story here.

Elephanti, a startup that’s supposed to make it easier for physical stores to connect with shoppers online, is announcing that it has raised $4.5 million in seed funding from LMJ Holdings.

The basic selling point for consumers, according to founder and CEO Lalin Michael Jinasena, is avoiding situations where you end up wandering from store to store, asking, “Do you sell Item X?” Instead, you can just visit the website or open the app, then search for a specific item, bringing up a list of stores that carry it. Or you can look up a retailer and browse a catalog of in-store items.

The concept isn’t too different from Milo, the local shopping startup that was acquired by eBay back in 2010, but Elephanti has a number of additional features that make it more than just a product search engine.

For one thing, after shoppers identify their interests, Elephanti can show them recommendations and offers from nearby stores. Users can also build shopping lists with multiple items, and the app will point to stores where they can buy all the items on the list. Plus, shoppers can check-in at stores and, in a promised update, share photos of what they’ve purchased, so their friends will know that something is really in-stock and available at a certain price.

Since the company is working directly with merchants, Jinasena said it’s focused on a specific geography (namely, San Francisco) for now, although it works in other cities. In fact, I tested it out today in Los Angeles, and it would have saved my mother some time — a few days ago, she was hopping from store to store in search of baklava. When I opened the app, it instantly identified the restaurant where she eventually found what she was looking for. (By the way, the site’s product catalogs include menus, too.)

The product search isn’t perfect. I also tried to find a mop (don’t ask), but the app would only recommend places where I could buy Mophies and albums by the band Moped.

As far as I can tell, Elephanti doesn’t incorporate real-time inventory data, and instead asks stores to manually build and update their catalogs, but I’m confirming that with a company spokesperson.

Update 1: A spokesperson said stores can choose to connect their inventory systems to Elephanti.

Update 2: After a tipster told us that they were suspicious about the investment, I got more details from the company. They said that LMJ Holdings is “an investment / holdings company owned by the Jinasena family” — namely, the family of the CEO (that’s something I should have caught when I wrote the initial post). However, they said Elephanti is a separate business entity that received money from LMJ for a stake in the company, i.e., it was a standard equity investment. (I’ve tried and failed so far to find a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission about the deal.) You can read more about LMJ and see other investments here.

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About the Author

Robbie Ferguson is an Internet Entrepreneur, Domain Investor, Domain Broker, Blogger and founder of various websites and eCommerce businesses such as ScreenProtectors.co.uk

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