YaSabe, a U.S. local search destination that caters to Hispanic consumers, has closed a seed round of both institutional and angel funding totaling $2.7 million.
YaSabe, which means “now you know” in Spanish, provides bilingual information about local merchants and service providers, along with special offers and coupons, classified advertising and job listings, all with a focus on Latino culture and community.
The site has both English and Spanish interfaces, and YaSabe targets anyone searching for Hispanic-relevant products, services and experiences. For instance, a YaSabe search for restaurants in Washington, D.C. returns listings and coupons separated into 16 distinct categories of Latin cuisine, as well as listings for non-Latin food. Additionally, the YaSabe job board exclusively displays positions for bilingual speakers.
YaSabe also provides a human-powered social concierge service called Ayudame (“help me'”), through which consumers can ask YaSabe's local experts for help in finding the right community information.
"Existing local media simply do not address the unique needs of U.S. Hispanics, who collectively represent more than $1.2T in buying power," said Zubair Talib, CEO of YaSabe. "We take a multicultural approach to this audience and provide users with high-quality, culturally-relevant content and the ability to participate in the social dialog within the Latino community. If Hispanics are important to your business, this is the place to find and engage them through culture and community."
The round includes institutional funding from 500 Startups, the Center for Innovative Technology's (CIT) Gap Fund, and Militello Capital, who led the round. Prominent angel investors participating in the round include Frank Bonsal, founder of NEA; Sol Trujillo, former CEO of US West; Brightstar (News - Alert), the largest U.S. Hispanic-owned business and others.
"500 Startups is actively seeking companies that are building business models designed to leverage the buying power of the U.S. Hispanic marketplace," added Bedy Yang, a venture partner at 500 Startups focused on multicultural markets. "With YaSabe we were impressed with the traction they have built to date and at past companies along with their deep knowledge of how to engage and motivate this important market."
The seed funding will be used for product development, marketing and continued development of content, traffic and advertiser partnerships, the company noted.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo