So Surya Mantha’s tenure as Executive Director, Convergence at Network18 was a rather short one: the former Web18 CEO, who had taken on a group level role at the media conglomerate in January to look into convergence of all Network18 properties, has left to join the Venture Capital Firm Omidyar Network as Director, Investments, reports Afaqs. He intends to focus on “digital media, consumer Internet, mobile value added services and mobile payments”. The Omidyar network has invested in online classifieds business Quickr in India.
Mantha had joined Web18 as CEO in August 2006 from Sify, where he was heading their Interactive Services business. Web18 remained in “investment mode” for most of Mantha’s tenure: shortly prior to his joining, TV18 acquired UrbanEye Studios, CricketNext and CompareIndia.com, and subsequently invested in BigTree Entertainment (BookMyShow). Network18 then launched several properties – EasyMF.com, homeshop18.com, bookmyshow.com, josh18.com, awaaz karobar, IBN Khabar, buzz18.com, poweryourtrade.com, indiwo.com, tech2.com, biztech2.com, indiaearnings.com, storeguru.com, blish.in.com, and in.com, some of which have now been consolidated into their other portals.
Web18 raised money twice, $10 million first from Tracer Capital and subsequently another $10 million last year from Nokia Growth Partners. While the Web18 didn’t report a profit during Mantha’s tenure, being in investment mode, they did push up revenues significantly: at the end of Q4-2007, Revenue from the Internet business and other operations for TV18 was Rs 84.90 million, with a net loss of Rs 36.30 million, IndianTelevision.com had reported then. Last quarter (Q3-2010), Web18 reported revenues of Rs. 196.93 million, an operating loss of Rs. 27.97 million, and a PAT of Rs. -118.12 million. Network18 Managing Director Raghav Bahl then said that he expects Web18 to turn an EBITDA profit in Q4.
Last year, Web18 registered on NASDAQ for a proposed IPO of American Depository Receipts.