The latest Indian acquisition by an international company in the year 2015 is the Twitter’s acquisition of Indian mobile marketing start-up ZipDial. Though the final financial transaction is not yet been officially disclosed, it was mentioned in the technology website TechCrunch that the acquisition is for approximately $30 million to $40 million. This is the San Francisco-based micro blogging service’s first acquisition in India.
ZipDial is an Indian mobile marketing and analytics start-up company based in Bangalore. It was founded in the year 2010. It is a common nature among many people in India to give a missed call and then expect the other person to call him or her back. At times, you give a missed call to a friend when you arrive at an agreed destination without having to pay the charge for the call. Such a practice of giving missed calls was the idea behind the formation of ZipDial. The basic objective was to create a mobile platform to meet different marketing goals, produce impressive results, and helping global brands to get connected with 100% of their customers.
How ZipDial operates?
ZipDial provides a whole range of phone numbers to its clients which can be used in marketing campaigns. Customers or consumers can simply give a missed call to these numbers so that they don’t have to incur any charges for the call and in return they will receive promotion-related text messages. These interactions are all the more appealing in those locations where consumers are connected to data only via Wi-Fi networks or not connected to data at all. This mobile marketing company has shown how a missed call can be converted into a business transaction effectively.
The mobile platform created by ZipDial has today been used by people to engage and at the same time follow with content across all interfaces, be it SMS, voice, mobile web, including mobile apps so that the gap between offline and online by the users is reduced. This innovative platform has already been a huge success across South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa. Today, ZipDial has more than 60 million users with hundreds of marketer clients, Yum! Brands Inc’s KFC, International Business Machines Corp, Procter & Gamble Co’s Gillette to name a few. It has also been seen that both Twitter and ZipDial have already collaborated on a variety of campaigns over the last 2-3 years like the Indian elections, Hindi film promotions, @MTVIndia’s ‘#RockTheVote — Dial the Hashtag’ campaign etc. This mobile platform has been used by many to access cricket scores, audio programming, and tweets from popular Bollywood celebrities on mobile phones.
Implications of the acquisition
There is no doubt about the fact that over the next several years, millions of people will be online, for the first time in countries like India, Brazil and Indonesia. There is also no denying the fact that many of these first time users will use a mobile phone for an online experience. But at the same time, the cost incurred may prevent them from experiencing the real power of the wi-fi network, the Internet. This acquisition of ZipDial by Twitter can help in making content available to everyone easily and cheaply, as disclosed by Christian Oestlien, VP of Product, Twitter. Twitter wants to expand and significantly increase their investment in India, the world’s second-biggest mobile market, through this acquisition.
ZipDial head Valerie Wagoner also said in a blog post on their official website that Twitter would utilise the same service as the missed call marketing service to reach out to its Indian users and make the Twitter’s unique, great content accessible to every mobile users, including the emerging markets which will be the first-time users of the mobile internet.
Rishi Jaitly, market director for India and Southeast Asia of Twitter, said by using the mobile platform of ZipDial every Indian with a mobile phone will be able to access a relevant Twitter experience, anytime and anywhere.
Implications of the acquisition for other Indian start-ups
The acquisition of ZipDial by Twitter clearly depicts how the global tech giants are finding new found interests on innovative Indian start-up companies. In the past too, there were some acquisitions of start-ups by major international brands. Some noted ones were Facebook Inc acquisition of Little Eye Labs in 2013, a start-up that builds monitoring tools and performance analysis for mobile applications, Google acquired Impermium, a cyber security firm that was co-founded by three Indians in 2013, Yahoo! Inc acquired of Bookpad in 2014, another start-up whose service allows developers to add document editing and viewing to their own applications. No doubt, in the past, the global companies’ main intention of acquiring Indian start-ups was mainly for buying technology. However, the recent acquisition of ZipDial has shown that even a successful and proven business model could be a major point of attraction for investment.
No doubt, according to industry experts, such acquisitions by global companies in Indian technologies will attract more and more investors worldwide to come forward to invest more and more into technology and other sectors with a long-term positive implication and will also provide investors an assured return.
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