Technology research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) believes India will become the third-largest smartphone market by 2017. With 44 million subscribers in the country, smartphones are fundamentally altering consumer lifestyles.
Fueling this trend is the rise in the consumption of mobile-phone apps. Meet entrepreneurs Dippak Khurana and Ashay Padwal who founded Vserv.Mobi in 2010 to dial into this opportunity on this edition of CNBC-TV18’s Young Turks.
Vserv Mobi helps developers monetise their app-user base and use mobile advertising solutions. Having recently delivered over 256 billion ad-requests for leading Fortune 500 companies across a 150 countries, Vserv.Mobi reaches out 382 million mobile Internet users, with partners like Yahoo and USD 3 million in funding from IDG Ventures, Dippak and Ashay are set to serve up an ace in the world of mobile advertising.
What started with the team of five and angel funding of Rs 30 lakh, is today the only ad network that is present across feature phones, smartphones and tablets.
Dippak Khurana, co-founder, Vserv.Mobi says "We anticipated appification of daily life five years ago. We could clearly see how app developers were going to fuel the mobile-phone business with their innovation and creativity. To create a thriving and vibrant apps ecosystem, we realised that an app developer required the right kind of monetary benefit. He would require a viable business opportunity for him to go ahead and fuel this ecosystem with plenty of apps."
Thanks to our past experience and our understanding of the developer ecosystem, we could foresee the problems inherent the complexity of app monetization. With the objective of enabling developers to monetise apps, we set up Vserv.
Khurana claims the venture has been seeing a 300 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth since its inception and this has been achieved by building revenues through two sources - advertising revenues by partnering with app developers and publishers to serve ads on their inventory and through micro transactions where Vserv helps them monetise their apps.
The team believes Vserv.Mobi stands out because it targets low-end feature phones outside the ambit of traditional app stores.
Powered by two flagship technologies — AppWrapper, a one-click app monetisation tool that has been used to create over 20,000 apps across all platforms and AudiencePro, which combines the scale with user data from telcos and help advertisers reach their exact target audience.
Khurana says "The AppWrapper and the AudiencePro effectively contribute to maximum monetisation for developers and allow advertisers a fantastic reach and ROI on using AudiencePro and AppWrapper."
Investors have bought into the idea and the duo’s vision with USD 3 million in series-A funding from IDG Ventures in 2011.
Having already partnered with developers like HeroCraft, Disney, HandyGames and telcos like Airtel and Vodafone, Vserv.Mobi recently forged a strategic alliance with Yahoo to monetise its premium mobile inventory.
This partnership will take Vserv across key markets in Southeast Asia including Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Khurana says "As these apps are on our network, we select apps that attract the audience targeted by the advertiser and place the advertisers’ ad in front of that audience. That’s how we do the targeting and the platform does that targeting for the advertiser."
The team hopes to speed up expansion and ride into new markets in Africa and Latin America in a bid to revv up business from the international market which accounts for over 65 percent of revenues.
With an eye on touching the USD 100-million revenue mark by 2015, this entrepreneurial duo is hoping to turn profitable by then as well.