Mobile2Win (India) today announced a merger with Altruist, a relatively new entrant in the Mobile VAS space. We spoke to Rajiv Hiranandani, co-founder of Mobile2Win on why they chose to go with Altruist, and the timing of the deal:
The deal has been in the works for a while now: Mobile2Win has been looking to beef up products, and Altruist has a voice business, while we have a strong presence in SMS, Mobile Marketing and WAP.
Why not one of the larger players in the voice space, then?
In the voice space, key players are OnMobile, Cellebrum and One97 – all of these companies are fairly large, and we thought it was good to partner with a company that is relatively new in the space and is hungry for business. They have three operator partners, and we bring in the other operator relationships. We don’t have voice, and they do not have SMS and WAP offerings, so we complement each other. Voice companies are bigger due to their width and the transactional nature of the business.
What about the timing of the deal – in the midst of a downturn…How much was the valuation?
I can’t comment on valuation, but we’ve been looking at the voice platform for ages. I don’t think the timing of the deal is intentional. The valuations may be lower than expected, but who knows how long this downturn is going to last – if one doesn’t grab the opportunity know, it may not arise again. There’s no cash deal here – we defined a share swap ratio and the investors and founders of Mobile2Win have received a corresponding stake in Altruist in exchange. As a combined entity, we will end this fiscal with revenues of around Rs. 200 crores.
Several of our existing verticals are becoming crowded. We segment our businesses as Mobile Marketing and Advertising, which is in its infancy, and Media (Services) and Telecom Operator (subscription services), which are driving growth and margins. We will offer voice services to our client base – Brands, Marketers, Media companies and telcos – along with our SMS and WAP offerings. We also plan to introduce location based services on SMS, Voice and WAP.
Any plans for “employee rationalization”? How many employees does each company have?
Mobile2Win has around 80-85 employees, while Altruist has around 300-350 employees. Since there is little overlap, there are no significant plans to rationalize the employee base.