For a four-year old start-up that has made a roaring business out of monetising missed calls, market rumours of a possible acquisition by Twitter did not raise too many eyebrows.
Though two of the founders of ZipDial Mobile Solutions on Wednesday hotly denied reports of a deal having been concluded, the company’s novel business model of leveraging missed calls as a frontline marketing tool and its hot list of clients that include P&G, Disney, Coca Cola, Nestle and Colgate, makes it a top draw in the Indian e-commerce space.
The Bangalore-based firm has some 400-odd paying clients, all of whom see value in the company’s mobile marketing platform that essentially allows consumers to place a missed call on specific numbers associated with a celebrity or a brand in order to receive their tweet alerts or promotional offers via SMS.
ZipDial, run by the 31-year-old Stanford alumni Valerie Rozycki Wagoner, who hails from California’s Central Valley, and her two co-founders, Sanjay Swamy and Amiya Pathak, claims to have “two to five times more unique users engaging on its website than on any social network”.
While talks between Twitter and the ZipDial top team were reportedly for over a month now, rumours of an imminent deal stem from a pact between the two firms in the recent past.
In 2013, ZipDial had entered into a partnership with Twitter India to enable those without an internet connection or a smartphone to follow stars by giving a missed call to a certain number and then engaging with the actor by “tweeting” through the SMS.
Then in 2014, Facebook too announced that it would use missed calls for generating leads from their ads for customers by leveraging a service that was designed and run by ZipDial. For Twitter, a deal makes business sense as mobile advertising becomes a revenue earner. Zipdial can throw light on user preferences for brands in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, where smartphone penetration is still nascent.
If the deal works out, it would be Twitter’s first acquisition in India.