Update: I spoke to Valuefirst CEO Vishwadeep Bajaj, who confirmed Kumars appointment. Kumar is joining with a stake in the company, but Bajaj declined to elaborate on the details. Kumars mandate will be to “scale the business, and launch new verticals, particularly given his experience with Shiksha.”
Bajaj has said that Valuefirst will be announcing their funding – of between $5-8 million, within a couple of weeks. Our sources had told us otherwise, and we stand corrected. He declined to disclose the investors (yet). The funding will be used to expand the company to new domains, in particular – to Voice and the Internet. ValueFirst had revenues of around $10 million last fiscal, and have set themselves an ambitious targest of $25 million this fiscal.
Bajaj said that they don’t see ValueFirst as just a bulk SMS company, but an Enterprise Mobility company – “We mobile-enable the process. We don’t just sell a pipe, but integrate with the CRM app and SAP, whatever the legacy, and move data over the mobile network.” The company will invest the money into internal processes and IT systems. The company has an international presense in the Middle East, UK, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan, and intends to expand into developing markets where Internet penetration is low, and mobile is the base.
Original story: Apurva Kumar, VP & National Head for Mobility, Ad Sales and Investments has left Info Edge (Naukri.com) to join ValueFirst, a Mobile Data Services, company Chief Operating Officer. Kumar will be reporting to CEO Vishwadeep Bajaj. Kumar was with Info Edge for around 3 years, during which period the company went in for a public listing. (Right: Apurva Kumar at the MediaNama Launch Seminar & Mixer)
Most recently, he was involved with the development of the companys education portal Shiksha.com. Sources within both Info Edge and ValueFirst have confirmed the development. This is Kumar’s last week at Info Edge, and he joins ValueFirst on Monday, the 20th of October. In the past, Kumar has worked at Indiatimes. Despite repeated attempts, Kumar didn’t take our call, while Vijay Shukla, ValueFirst’s Country Head (India) was unreachable.
ValueFirst is an Enterprise Messaging company, best known for its SMS services. One of their key clients is Push SMS company Netcore (MyToday), which sends our over 10 million SMS’ per day; ValueFirst is also a part of Netcore MD Rajesh Jain’s Emergic Ecosystem. Calls to Rajesh Jain were also left unanswered. We had heard about ValueFirst being in talks for a round of VC funding, but apparently that didn’t come through. Sources have put ValueFirst revenues at between Rs. 25-30 crores, though this is unconfirmed. Updated above: revenues of $10 million.
Update: Apurva Kumar has confirmed that he has joined ValueFirst as COO.
Disclosure: I own an inconsequential number of shares of Info Edge