PE-backed ValueFirst acquires mobile video service

Gurgaon-based digital media firm ValueFirst Digital Media Private Limited has acquired , a mobile video service, for an undisclosed amount. As part of the deal, ValueFirst will acquire clk2c’s technology platform, customers and its entire team. In addition, the B2C capabilities of clk2c’s platform, which include mobile video greetings, will be integrated with – a consumer internet property of ValueFirst that offers peer-to-peer (P2P) communication.

Commenting on the acquisition, ValueFirst CEO Vishwadeep Bajaj said, “ is a strategic fit in the ValueFirst portfolio. Through this platform, we will be able to execute rich media campaigns for our opt-in consumer base on behalf of brands and agencies. This platform extends digital interactions to include video, along with our existing multi-modal reach through SMS, voice, unstructured supplementary service data (USSD), e-mail and display.”

Besides leveraging clk2c’s platform, ValueFirst would also service existing customers of with the intent to grow the relationship through additional engagement opportunities, he added.

A business unit of Samadhan Systems Pvt Ltd, was founded in 2009 by Suresh Kabra. Earlier, he had worked with companies like Aricent Technologies, Conexant Inc, Ficon Technology, Hughes Software Systems, Alcatel and Bell Northern Research. Prior to, he also founded (also a venture of Samadhan Systems), a personalised video greeting service for mobile. Kabra holds a BE in Electrical and Electronics from Birla Institute of Technology and Science and an Executive MBA degree in International Management from Stanford-National University of Singapore.

As a mobile video service, clk2c offers personalised video messaging via mobile and provides advertising solutions for B2B and B2C marketplaces. Its services target corporate houses, brand advertisers and consumers for business/personal communication needs. With the service in place, brand advertisers can reach out to their target consumers by sending audio-video commercials, power point presentations or any video content to the consumers’ mobile handsets, irrespective of the operating system or the form factor.

“With ValueFirst’s reach and hold over the digital domain, combined with our mobile marketing expertise, we will be able to create a highly engaging space for advertisers and brands to interact with their consumers,” said Kabra.

ValueFirst was founded in 2003 and it is one of the fastest growing digital media companies in the country. Its digital (both the internet and mobile) properties offer communication services, social interaction and content to consumers. The company is backed by Headland Capital Partners (formerly HSBC Private Equity (Asia) Ltd) and New Enterprise Associates (NEA) that invested Rs 70 crore in the company in early 2011.

ValueFirst acquisitions

In October 2009, ValueFirst acquired mobile VAS firm Cellnext Solutions (in an all-cash deal) and Noida-based Packet Shaper, a telecom software and product development firm. The company also acquired a majority stake in the social media firm in April 2010, for an undisclosed amount. Last year, it went on an acquisition spree and bagged three companies including Bangalore-based mobile advertising firm mGinger (run by Gingersoft Media Pvt Ltd) in an all-cash deal, Indyarocks and Way2online, which owns and operates both way2sms and 160by2.

The company ran into troubled waters last year (in September) when Kumar Apoorv, CEO of the digital media firm ValueFirst Messaging Pvt Ltd, along with his team, were allegedly fired for alleged financial irregularities. At that time, Bajaj, the founder and CMD of the company, took charge its day-to-day operations.

The Way2online deal also went sour and the company had to opt for an out-of-court settlement over the disputed acquisition. As part of the agreement, Venkam Raju Vanapala, the promoter of Way2online, withdrew the petition filed earlier in Delhi High Court, and the promoters of way2SMS received possession of the business and the acquisition was scrapped.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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