Mumbai based paid applications company Onward Mobility has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Mumbai Angels, a group of angel investors. Amit Grover of the Mumbai Angels told MediaNama that they’ve taken a stake of 20-25 percent in the company, while Arun Menon, CEO of Onwards Mobility put the investment figure around the Rs 30 million mark. Vikas Choudhuri and Vivek Nathwani from Mumbai Angels have joined the Board of Onward Mobility, while Rajiv Dadlani will be a Board Observer.
Menon said that the money raised Menon will be utilized to expand its reach in India, develop more products and add to its product range called Mobi Family. It is looking at a pan India market in both consumer and enterprise markets.
Business Model: Retail Only
Onward Mobility develops Symbian, Java and Blackberry apps, and the company is “Android-ready”, though, according to Menon, developing apps for their iPhone “doesn’t suit their business model”.
“We’re better off selling apps offline,” he says, “because Application Stores are too cluttered and our apps don’t get sufficient visibility. Especially in India, not many people buy apps through Credit Cards. People don’t need credit cards or GPRS with our existing model.” Though it’s not their focus area, Menon says that Onward Mobility might look at iPhone apps in the future.
Onward Mobility markets apps and solutions on the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) model. Given that the retail sector is still unorganized in India, the company intends to rope in individual distributors who in turn deal with individual retailers rather than targeting major retail chains. “There’s a big possibility that we will set up app stores that retailers can access, and sell to consumers from. Once the offline setup is ready, selling apps directly to consumers through online app stores by enabling m-commerce will just be an extension of this model.”
At present, users can download the apps from the company site on their computers and transfer it to their handsets, or directly download to their handsets via GPRS and activate the app with the help of the scratch code that users can purchase from retail stores.
In terms of revenue share, retailers get 20-25 percent, distributors get 10- 15 percent and a majority 60 percent is kept by the company. Menon told us that the company will be looking to strengthen and expand this pipeline so that they are able to feed in more products. In the future the company will also look at tie-ups with telecom operators and bundling apps together as alternative revenue stream, Menon added.
According to the company’s website at present Mobi family has 5 applications live, which it claims “work best” on Symbian platforms:
— MobiCop: A security software that tracks mobile phones in case of lost or theft and protects data from unauthorised users.
— MobiCopy: An application that allows users to back up contact from their handsets via SMS to an online server with or without GPRS. The app also can be set up to send automatic SMSs on selected time and date to specific contacts. It’s compatible with most GSM and CDMA phones. Remember that OnMobile acquired VoxMobili for its phone backup solution.
— Talk007: This application allows users to record voice memos or phone calls without interrupting beeps either using hotkeys or be set to record phone calls automatically (or without disclosure).
— MobiMate: MobiMate is a personal messaging app that integrates auto-responder, personalized voice and SMS responder, phone number blacklist facility and a voice recorder.
— MobiSecret: Menon informed us that this app is on of their most popular apps. It allows users to hide personal data like images, videos, sound clips and entire folders on their mobile handsets to prevent misuse. Menon further told us that they have also released a premium version of this app.
It’s new releases include MobiBuddy, a mobile alarm app that, the company claims, makes sure a user never forgets their mobile phones; MobiTrace, a non-GPS solution for vehicle owners and transporters, and MobiNanny, a mobile usage monitoring tools for parents.
Mumbai Angels has made over 20 investments in last 3 years including investments in mKhoj (now InMobi), Apalya Technologies, Speakwell, Myntra and Reverse Logistics Company.