Twitter makes first Indian acquisition with mobile marketing start up ZipDial

By: | Published: January 20, 2015 12:37 PM

Though the deal size was not disclosed, reports suggest monetary value of Twitter-ZipDial is between between Rs 185 cr - Rs 247 cr.

Twitter, Twitter acquisition, ZipDialTwitter Inc will buy Indian mobile phone marketing start-up ZipDial, reportedly for million to million, as the US microblogging service looks to expand in the world’s second-biggest mobile market. (Reuters)

Twitter has acquired Bengalore-based mobile VAS firm ZipDial to mark its first acquisition in India, as the microblogging firm aims to expand its presence in one of world’s largest Internet markets.

Though the deal size was not disclosed, reports suggest the monetary value is between USD 30-40 million (between Rs 185 crore-Rs 247 crore).

The Indian startup, which was already working as a partner with Twitter, offers services like missed calls for user verification and alerts to its customers.

“India is one of the fastest growing countries for us. We have been focussed on growing our audience here and this acquisition will dramatically accelerate that strategy,” Twitter Market Director (India and Southeast Asia) Rishi Jaitly said.

He added that the acquisition will also help Twitter strengthen its engineering efforts in the country.

“Millions of people are coming online for the first time in countries like Brazil, India and Indonesia. For many, their first online experience will be on a mobile device – but the cost of data may prevent them from experiencing the true power of the Internet. Twitter, in partnership with ZipDial, can make great content more accessible to everyone,” he said.

He said the ZipDial platform is a “perfect match for India”, which is a mobile-first country.

Founded in 2010 by Valerie Wagoner and Amiya Pathak, ZipDial has built a mobile platform that lets people follow and engage with content across interfaces, combining SMS, voice, mobile web, and access to mobile apps to bridge users from offline to online.

ZipDial allows users to make a “missed call” to a brand, following which the caller begins receiving inbound content and further engagement on their phone in real time through voice, SMS or an app notification.

“Only one in 3 phones in India have active Internet connections and even the average consumption is very low at an average of 60 MB per month compared to 1.38 GB consumed each month by users in the US. Our technology allows brands to interact with the audiences, especially in areas where people aren’t always connected to data or only access data through intermittent WiFi networks,” Wagoner said.

ZipDial’s platform has engaged nearly 60 million users with hundreds of marketer clients, including leading brands and media companies, including International Business Machines Corp, Yum! Brands Inc’s KFC and Procter & Gamble Co ‘s Gillette, Cadbury, Unilever, Colgate, Disney, and MakeMyTrip.

Over the past two years, ZipDial and Twitter have collaborated on a variety of campaigns, including the Indian elections, Bollywood film promotions and @MTVIndia’s #RockTheVote “Dial the Hashtag” campaign.

Twitter has more than 284 million monthly active users. It, however, does not disclose country-specific user numbers.

ZipDial has about 50 employees. Its investors included Blume Ventures, AngelPrime, Sunil Goyal of YourNest Ventures, Mumbai Angels, Jungle Ventures, Unilazer Ventures, and 500 Startups.

The acquisition is the latest in India by global tech giants who have snapped up companies in a fledgling startup scene, concentrated in the tech hub of Bengaluru in southern India.

Last year, Facebook Inc bought Little Eye Labs, a start-up that builds performance analysis and monitoring tools for mobile apps. Yahoo! Inc bought Bookpad, whose service allows developers to add document viewing and editing to their own applications.

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