Update: Manav Sethi has joined Getit as its Head of AskMe.com, Yellowpages.in, Freeads.in and communities. Sethi had spearheaded BigMaps for Reliance BIG Entertainment before resigning in 2010. Local information is a key part of any maps business, and we wonder if there is also a plan to build something marrying maps and Getit’s local information.
Earlier today: Local information service, Getit Infoservices has received an approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to raise Rs 216 crore through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The company said that it plans to increase the foreign equity stake in the company through this investment, in a bid to carry out its specialty publishing business. GETIT had previously raised $4 million from Helion Ventures in 2009 and reports suggested that Malaysian company Astro had acquired a majority stake in it by investing around Rs 100 crore in 2010.
Earlier this year, former Microsoft regional director Jaspreet Bindra has joined the company as its CEO and the company had also acquired Network18’s online business directories YellowPages.co.in and AskMe in February 2013. Following this acquisition, Getit had informed that the combined entity will be called as Getit Infomedia and it will be wholly owned by Getit shareholders.
Interestingly, this approval comes at a time when Getit’s competitor JustDial recently concluded its IPO subscription process. JustDial was looking to raise around Rs 950 crore through the IPO, however, the IPO had generated significant interest from investors with the IPO being fully subscribed with bids for more than 12 times the amount at hand, at the completion of its IPO subscription process.
Founded in 1986, Getit has dabbled into multiple services over the year. This includes launching Yellow Pages and classifieds, mobile directories and classifieds, an online shopping mall, a deals service, doctor appointments, mobile based local information service, website building tools, and Getit film club among others. It has also partnered with Yahoo India for a co-branded local search portal and the handset maker Nokia to feature its premium listings on Nokia’s local search service Nokia Nearby.
Nikhil adds: The context here is that the JustDial IPO has indicated that there is investor appetite for local listings, and that the gap between the two companies (JustDial is the market leader) might widen. This is a battle for dominance between the two players, which explains Getit’s acquisition of Network18’s yellow pages: appears that the Network18 group didn’t have the appetite or the management bandwidth for this high-stakes game. All in all, the classifieds business is moving to the web: Justdial’s IPO filings reveal that a majority of their searches are now coming on the web, although our guess is that revenues are still largely dependent on offline and offline. As the shift takes place for JustDial from monetization being primarily led by its call center business to monetization being led by online search, the opportunity is there for Getit to unseat it. Of course, the bigger player online is Google.