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One97 Buys Mobile Marketing Platform MobiVite

Update: The deal was for a maximum of $500,000, Vijay Shekhar Sharma informs Techcircle

Yesterday (18th Dec 2012): One97 Communications* has acquired MobiVite, a platform which allows businesses and brand managers to create mobile websites and execute mobile web campaigns. MobiVite is offered to customers is a SaaS (Software as a service) model. Speaking with MediaNama, One97 Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said that MobiVite offers a post-click solution, allowing businesses to create customizable mobile destinations with a few clicks. “People are asking us to create these destinations (for their campaigns), and we believe that there is value in creating such platforms.”

One97 has picked up 100% stake, and the payout is in two tranches: one part up-front and another revenue linked. MobiVite is a part of Google India’s Lets Talk Mo initiative, along with companies like ad2c (Affle and Dentsu JV), Mobstac, Dudamobile, Mobsters, and Netbiscuits. MobiVite had around 20-25 employees.

One97 counts, among its mobile advertising customers, companies like Coca Cola, Nestle, Videocon, Godfrey Philips, Videocon and DishTV, among others.

Why acquire instead of building? “It’s not easy to build in a short span. It’s a great piece of software, with features, understands screen sizes, with rendering for smart devices. Mobile websites have to be more about responsive design than the Internet.”

Why acquire instead of partnering? “We found that it is important for us to have this piece in our control, that’s why we acquired instead of partnering.

Is it too early? While mobile Internet consumption appears to be skyrocketing, advertising rates, monetization, and fill rates appear to be a challenge. To this, Sharma says that it isn’t too early to get into this space:, and that for any advertising trying to get into mobile advertising, the post-click solution is necessary. “Before the case studies are written, you want to be one”, he adds.

From what I recall, MobiVite started as a mobile event ticketing platform – they’d pitched to us a little over a year ago for our events – and even though they did have the platform for post-click pages, they appear to have shifted focus beyond Event ticketing to campaigns.

Disclosure: One97 is an advertiser with MediaNama

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