Update: An official press release from Rediff confirms that the company has taken a minority stake in Eterno Infotech.
Original story (Nov 7th): Perhaps inadvertently, but responding to our question in Rediff.com‘s investment plans in the coming months, given that they’re sitting on $49 million cash, Rediff.com CEO Ajit Balakrishnan inadvertently let out that they’re in talks with Bangalore based Eterno Infotech for an investment. Eterno makes mobile applications, and has powered MobileRediff, a mobile application that the company announced a few days ago. Balakrishnan said that mobile companies of interest to them, and “Eterno is building applications for media companies that provide news services on the mobile.”
Eterno’s founders, Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni are both ex-Nokia employees, and Kulkarni was previously the head of the software development team at Nokia’s Bangalore development center. The two had previously founded co-founded Curis Networks in 1999, which was acquired by Amber Networks, which in turn was acquired by Nokia in 2001.
Among Eterno’s products are local language tools for the mobile: a mobile transliteration application called IndiSMS, which is akin to Quillpad, an online transliteration tool in which Rediff has also invested; IndiServer is an Indic language bulk SMS server.
Other products include IndiMMS, an MMS application, and a “Music Companion” which allows users to browse music on the mobile, and download music, ringtones and MP3 songs. This also fits in with Rediff’s mobile ringtone search service. Their customers includes mobile operators like Airtel, Idea and Hutch, as well Nokia, Handango and CNET
Rediff.com has also invested in a Twitter like service with a mobile component, called Vakow, apart from Quillpad, mentioned earlier.