As a part of the rebranding of BK Modi’s Spice Group, group company Cellebrum Technologies Ltd has been rebranded as Spice Digital.
Vinish Kathuria, previously the President (Strategy and Business Development) at Cellebrum subsidiary Mobisoc is now COO at Spice Digital. On the sidelines of VAS Asia 2009, Kathuria told MediaNama that the group still had resonance among consumers as a telecom operator brand (Spice Communications was acquired by Idea Cellular last year), and needed to go in for a makeover. Spice should now be seen as a brand associated with a digital lifestyle for consumers. Accordingly, the logo and colors have been changed, and there’s been a change in the groups strategic vision. Additionally, subsidiary Mobisoc has been integrated into Spice Digital.
IPO Plans? Global Expansion? Revenue Growth
Kathuria declined to comment on Spice Digital’s IPO plans: remember that last year, as Cellebrum Technologies Ltd, the company had filed a draft red herring prospectus. Fr the nine months ending December 2007, Cellebrum had reported consolidated revenues of Rs. 777.19 million, and a consolidated PAT of Rs. 220.38 million. Kathuria said that the companys numbers have been good, and the 2008-09 fiscal has seen almost a 100% growth in revenue over 2007-08. He declined to comment on the contribution of the companys Mobile Radio product to revenues.
About plans for expanding into international markets, Kathuria said that “We will majorly be focused on India, but will be looking at international partnerships. We feel there’s opportunity in the emerging markets, where India is a good showcase. But I dont foresee a situation over the next few years where 50% of our revenues will be international, and 50% from India. We are mainly focused on India.”
Targets and Leadership Team
At present, though Spice Digital reaches out to a large number of customers, Kathuria said that they have around 25 million subscribers from whom they generate revenues (via telecom operator partners). “In 18 months, we’re targeting 50 million. We want to have 100 million customers. To do that, we need to have new products, new oferings, new business models, and a leadership team that will execute that.” Saket Agarwal is the CEO of the company, spearheading the operations, while Mohit Rampal and Vinish Kathuria are the COO’s. Dr. Abhinav Mathur is the CTO and Chief Strategy Officer.
Technology Arm Spun Off As Spice eLabs
While Spice Digital will house the distribution arrangements and partnerships that the company has with telecom operators and various media companies, the technology arm has been spun off as Spice eLabs,Kathuria told MediaNama. From Mobisoc, the team focusing on the Mitr platform is now a part of Spice eLabs, and the customer facing business (partner relationships) business is with Spice Digital. Spice eLabs has a relatively longer term horizon – 4-5 years, as compared to 12-18 months at Spice Digital, and new services developed may subsequently be deployed by Spice Digital. “We want to be the leaders in the VAS space, and that requires a focus on technology and people that we bring on board,” Kathuria said.
New Products & Services
Spice Digital will has launched SMS 139 for the Indian Railways, in partnership with Bharat BPO. This service allows people to check for updates of wait list, by SMSing his PNR number to 139. “We will launch a lot of services in voice, SMS and Mobile Internet, many of which will be niche offerings,” Kathuria said, declining to mention any other specific services. Kathuria expects that a significant amount of growth will be in the Peer to Peer arena – Voice chat and Video chat are instances of that. Most of the services will be white labeled. Spice Digital is also eying the m-commerce space, and Kathuria said that the company is putting the pieces into place.