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Updated: Bharti Softbank Backed Y2CF To Launch Hoppr Location Based Deals With Six Telcos

June 1st 2012: According to Y2CF’s filings with the Registrar of Companies, it’s board approved the issuance of 312,500 Class A Equity shares for Rs 22,25,00,000 on 17.10.2011, to Bharti Softbank Holdings Pte Ltd. As per the updated Articles of Association of the company, Bharti Softbank has been allocated shares amounting to 49.74% (so the ET story was accurate).

Bharti Softbank also has the right to subscribe to additional Class A Equity Shares of the Company within three years, and in tranches, up to a maximum total share holding of 60% of the fully dilutes post-money capitalization of the Company.

Atsushi Taira and Madhusudan Nori from Bharti Softbank have joined the board of directors of Y2CF, according to the filings.

Note that our initial report regarding the amount of investment was incorrect.

May 31st 2012: So, it’s official, but very low on details: BSB confirms what we had reported. The service is called Hoppr, and is being launched across 6 telcos (Airtel, Aircel, Idea, Reliance, Tata Docomo, and Vodafone). BSB has taken “an equity stake” in Y2CF (ET had reported 49%) with the option of acquiring a majority stake. Hoppr will cover 3000 retail outlets in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, and Kavin Bharti Mittal, BSB’s Head of Strategy & New Product Development sees this as a means of helping people find what they’re looking for offline, and helping “organize the vastly unorganized merchant base by connecting them with consumers who have such devices near them.”

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Scroll down for our earlier reports and a copy of the press release.

Update (1200 hrs): The Economic Times reports that BSB has taken a 49% stake in the venture, with the option to acquire the remaining stake in the future. Their sources (unconfirmed as well) say that the stake is valued at Rs 40 crore million, which means that the company is being valued at around Rs 80 crore already.

May 23rd 2012, 1313hrs: Hoppr, the first initiative from Bharti-Softbank backed company Y2CF is set to go live with six telecom operators, MediaNama has learned from reliable sources. The company, founded by former Bharti Airtel VAS Head Md. Imthiaz initially launched the project as Musstbuy, but the location based check-in’s and daily deal offerings are only a part of the larger game-plan, we’ve heard.

Bharti Airtel is expected to announce the investment – around Rs 35 crore according to our sources – to the stock exchanges later this week. Note that all our information is source based, and both Imthiaz  and Kavin Bharti Mittal (Head of Strategy and New Product Development at BSB), declined to comment on this story.

The launch of Hoppr is likely to be next week, but what is remarkable about the venture is that it’s a check-in service that is expected to launch across six major telecom operators – a no mean feat given that telecom operators tend to be territorial, and fact that this is a venture backed by the Bharti-Softbank joint venture.

The company has been hiring aggressively over the last couple of months, and in the recent past, has hired Gaurav Sharma as Head for Analytics & Operational Excellence from analytics major Mu Sigma, Rohit Awasthi from Snapdeal as Head of Online & Communities, and Sanat Thite as Head of Web Strategy.

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The Musstbuy pilot is reporting around 40,000 check-in’s per week, and it’s pertinent to keep in mind that India has over 680 million active mobile connections, and even though a majority of these are based in B and C class towns, the scale that a mobile deals service offers is something which the Internet can’t. Daily deals sites have struggled to break into the telecom operator ecosystem – Snapdeal is the only major deals business that is mobile, and it took quite some time to launch its first mobile service, recently with Tata Docomo. Snapdeal has diversified into e-commerce, and as more and more businesses launch deals sections and couponing, eBay India among them, the deals space will become a commoditized. The focus for Hoppr will be on engagement and gamification of check-ins, and deals and commerce as a means of monetization.

However, that isn’t the end of it: according to our sources, Y2CF has also been in talks for an instant messenger application across telecom operators in India.


The Official Press Release:

BSB and Y2CF announce partnership for Hyper Local Commerce

Will offer world’s only mobile device-agnostic location based service under the ‘hoppr’ brand

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Bharti Softbank (“BSB”), a 50:50 JV between Bharti Enterprises and SOFTBANK CORP focused on mobile internet, today announced that it has partnered with Gurgaon (India) based mobile start-up firm Y2CF Digital Media Pvt. Ltd. (“Y2CF”) to launch the world’s only mobile device-agnostic location based service.

Y2CF and BSB have developed the location based check-in service that works across all mobile devices, with the aim to build the hyper local commerce ecosystem in India, wherein consumers get to explore rewards and offers available with brands and merchants in their vicinity. The BSB-Y2CF partnership plans to launch this service under the ‘hoppr’ brand name. Under the partnership, BSB has taken an equity stake in Y2CF with the option of acquiring majority stake in the company.

BSB, which began operations in October 2011, aims to actively participate in the growth of mobile internet in India with focus on Social Media, Gaming and Commerce verticals.

Commenting on the partnership, Kavin Bharti Mittal, BSB’s Head of Strategy & New Product Development said, “When we look at the e-commerce space in India, we see enough companies doing a good job of solving the problem of online retail. India has over 900 million subscribers that are always connected to a network but there still doesn’t exist a quick and simple way to find what they’re looking for offline in the world around them. This is the unique opportunity we see, in creating a bridge between the Online and Offline worlds. We believe such a platform could also help organize the vastly unorganized merchant base by connecting them with consumers who have such devices near them. We are delighted to see the passion and commitment of the Y2CF team and look forward to working with them to build out this vision and take ‘hoppr’ to the next level.”

Y2CF has already tied up with leading mobile service providers – Airtel, Aircel, Idea, Reliance, Tata Docomo and Vodafone – for ‘hoppr’, which will initially cover 3000 retail outlets/locations focused in top 4 cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, and offer customers great rewards and special services on the go.

Talking about the partnership, Md. Imthiaz, Founder & CEO, Y2CF said, “Mobile is the most powerful personal device carried by every consumer. We have seen mobile growing from a pre-dominant voice usage to being used for accessing information on a real-time basis. ‘hoppr’ will make sure that there isn’t a dull moment in the life of a consumer. hoppr’s location specific communication of rewards and coupons will bring alive a hyper local commerce platform which will benefit both consumers and merchants alike.” He further added, “We are very excited partnering with BSB and believe their experience in the mobile internet space will help us build a phenomenal service and add value to our business.”

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Imthiaz is joined by Kabeer Biswas, co-Founder and Director, who is spearheading the product innovation.

About Y2CF

hoppr is a brand of Y2CF Digital Media Pvt. Ltd, headquartered in Gurgaon. Y2CF is an over 90 people company with people from different fields like telecom, local merchants, online, analytics and technology.

For more information visit: http://www.hoppr.com/


Has Bharti-Softbank JV BSB Rolled Out Daily Deals Site Musstbuy? What About Y2CF?
Snapdeal Finally Launches SMS Deals With A Telco: Tata DOCOMO
Bharti Enterprises Forms Mobile Internet JV With Softbank

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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