Twitter Buys Bangalore Startup ZipDial

20/01/2015 1:24 PM IST | Updated 27/06/2016 9:53 PM IST
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New Delhi: Microblogging site Twitter has acquired Indian startup ZipDial, a mobile value added services company based out of Bengaluru, a statement by Twitter said here Tuesday.

The statement added this is Twitter's first ever acquisition in India. The deal size has not been mentioned. Techcrunch, citing unidentified sources, reported the deal at $30 million to $40 million.

Bangalore-based ZipDial gives clients phone numbers for use in marketing campaigns. Consumers call the numbers and hang up before connecting and incurring charges, and then receive promotion-related text messages.

The start-up's clients include International Business Machines Corp, Yum! Brands Inc's KFC and Procter & Gamble Co 's Gillette.

The service capitalises on a local tradition of communicating through so-called missed calls. A person may give a friend a missed call to signal arrival at an agreed destination, for instance, without having to pay the cost of a phone call.

Such "unique behaviour" was behind ZipDial, the start-up said in a statement announcing the Twitter deal.

ZipDial's platform has engaged nearly 60 million users with hundreds of marketer clients.

"In India, our primary mission, which is bolstered by this acquisition, is to help every Indian with a mobile device enjoy a great, relevant Twitter experience. We believe Twitter - a platform invented for SMS and rich in media - is a perfect match for India," Rishi Jaitly, market director, India and Southeast Asia, Twitter.

This acquisition significantly increases Twitter's investment in India, one of the countries where the company is seeing great growth, and also brings Twitter a new engineering office in Bangalore, the statement added.

Christian Oestlien, vice president of product, Twitter, said: "Over the next several years, billions of people will come 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."

"ZipDial's innovative platform has already scaled across South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa, where we operate. We are thrilled to expand our impact to a global level with Twitter."

Valerie Wagoner, founder and chief executive officer, ZipDial, said that over half of the world's population live in emerging and newly developed markets, and these consumers use their mobile phones differently.

"We build for them. ZipDial's innovative platform has already scaled across South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa, where we operate. We are thrilled to expand our impact to a global level with Twitter."

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.

With Inputs From Reuters

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