Twitter To Acquire Bangalore-Based Mobile VAS Firm

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jan 14, 2015

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In 2013, there were rumors that social networking major Twitter would acquire an India-based startup, Frrole, a big data company that analyzes Tweets to get insights for business, but the deal never saw the light of the day. Now, Twitter is reportedly in talks to acquire another Indian start-up ZipDial, a Bangalore-based mobile VAS company that came into prominence with its implementation of missed calls for user verification and other use cases. 

Needless to say, social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook are increasingly eyeing the Indian market. After Facebook making headlines by acquiring Bangalore-based startup Little Eye Labs industry enthusiasts expect that it is now Twitter’s turn to make a flying start in the Indian market. TechCrunch reported the Twitter-Zip Dial deal is already closed with a sum of $30 to $40 million being touted as the final value. So, if the deal is finalized, ZipDial will become Twitter’s first acquisition in India. 

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Experts believe as India is set to become the second largest smartphone market by 2016, many technology titans have started to take notice. Moreover, with PM Narendra Modi’s digital India initiative, companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Cisco and Twitter to name a few are bullish on the country’s growth.

ZipDial was co-founded in 2010 by Stanford-educated Valerie Wagoner, Amiya Pathak has and Sanjay Swamy. Its investors include Jungle Ventures, 500 Startups, Times Internet, and Mumbai Angels. According to their website, ZipDial’s intelligence platform drives solutions such as couponing, friend referrals, and more. Clients include Disney, Pepsi, P&G, and over five hundred others.

The company had previously teamed up with Twitter to offer tweets from Indian celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan when users dialed a preset number and hung up. ZipDial had also partnered with Facebook to offer brand promotions through its Facebook Click2Call ad service. It created interactive, mobile ads featuring buttons enabled users to request brand information via voice or text messages.

The micro-blogging company is on a hiring spree in India. According to a source, Twitter is picking up talents from Facebook and Google in India to strengthen its sales and business development teams in Delhi and Mumbai, among other places.

According to analysts, the company is aiming to differentiate itself from Facebook by focusing on the live-cast space – sports, news, entertainment and politics to build advertising revenues through the social media connect and looking to hire top recruits in each of these areas.

The company is also working closely with software product think-tank Indian Software Products Industry Roundtable (iSpirt) that facilitates various deals through its M&A Connect program, which helps Indian product companies find global buyers.