SAIF Partners-backed One97 acquires self-service mobile marketing platform MobiVite for up to $500K | VCCircle
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SAIF Partners-backed One97 acquires self-service mobile marketing platform MobiVite for up to $500K

BY  Sonam Gulati
MobiVite says it couldn’t convince VC funds to back its idea and in many cases, revenue multipliers & unit metrics dominated the funding talks.

Mobile internet company One97 Communications Ltd has closed a deal to acquire Delhi-based mobile marketing platform MobiVite. The acquisition will enable One97 to offer a complete range of mobile marketing services to brands and agencies. The company is also looking to launch a do-it-yourself service to accelerate mobile web adaptation by merchants.

Owned by Srishti TechNet Pvt Ltd, MobiVite offers a SaaS-based platform that enables small businesses, marketing agencies and brand managers to create mobile websites and execute engaging mobile web campaigns.

Commenting on the acquisition, One97 founder and CEO, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, said, “We want to be the dominating force of the mobile internet ecosystem. Bringing MobiVite to One97 allows us to accelerate our journey towards that purpose.”

Asked about the deal value, Sharma added that the transaction would involve two parts – a fixed payment and a variable component to be paid to Sanjay Goel, founder and CEO of MobiVite. In total, the deal would cost around half a million dollar, he said.

“We are very excited to become a part of the One97 team,” said Goel of MobiVite. “We can now offer our innovative mobile internet marketing services to a larger customer base,” he added. Goel is a post-graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology and prior to starting Srishti TechNet, he had founded Ethnic India – a lifestyle fragrance company which later got acquired.

Post acquisition, Goel will be joining the mobile marketing team at One97. Although the company (Srishti TechNet) will be dissolved, One97 will retain the brand name MobiVite.

MobiVite was a part of Google’s Let’s Talk Mobile programme, along with other companies like Mobsters, ad2c (Affle and Dentsu JV), DudaMobile, Netbiscuits and MobStac. MobiVite was identified as a key vendor in the programme, enabling businesses to market mobile websites.

What led to the acquisition?

Prior to the acquisition, MobiVite had a total of 40 customers but revenues were not up to the mark, according to Goel. The startup was bootstrapped since its inception, but Goel started looking for external funding when he wanted to scale the business and take it to the next level. However, the company did not find VC backers and that was when the acquisition came along.

“We definitely needed funds but we were also looking for a partner who had certain other components ready, which are needed for mobile marketing. One97 had all of that,” added Goel.

He also shed some light on the failure to raise VC funding, noting that the investment ecosystem in India is such that most VCs prefer a company which has a proven business model. “In many cases, revenue multipliers and unit metrics come before an idea or concept. Since we were in a development stage, we were unable to convince the investors of the vision we have for the company. But now that we are here with One97, we will try and grow the company many times with their support,” added Goel.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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