From 2008 to 2019, Zomato’s marketing has gone through a major upheaval. Find out what worked and what didn’t and how they have transformed to become an international brand with quirky content and a strong online presence.
Ola cabs need no introduction. It is a household name to almost everyone in India. Ola cabs service is an Indian online transportation network company which was developed by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. It was founded by Bhavish Aggarwal on 3rd December 2010. It is headquartered at Bangalore. Approximately 6000 people are working in Ola.
Ola is now present in 110+ city. It has 9,00000 vehicles for millions of customers every day. Approximately 10,00000 drivers are associated as partners.
Ola cabs service serves different sets of customers- intercity customers, long route outstation passengers, Shuttle service and shared services. It has both economic and luxury travel. Ola Cabs has positioned itself as a company that makes mobility convenient, affordable and safe.
The latest round of funding of ola was in March 2019. So far they have raised $3.8 billion in total. Ola cabs have a revenue of 758 crore INR (FY2016).
- Company Name: Olacabs.com
- Founders: Bhavish Aggarwal & Ankit Bhati
- Type: B2C
- Slogan: Chalo Niklo
- Desktop/App: Ola has both Desktop & App
- One-liner: “With Olacabs, we’re trying to bring quality and predictability to car rental services online.” – Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO & Co-founder, Olacabs
- Industry: Transportation & Food delivery (On 29th December 2017, food panda’s business in India has been acquired by Ola Cabs)
“At Olacabs, the goal is to bring convenience, price transparency, and standardization to consumers booking car rentals and cab services. We offer instant confirmation for car rental bookings, either online or over the phone”- Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO & Co-founder, Olacabs
Table Of Contents
Ola cabs service didn’t actually start off as ola cabs but were a pivot from a package weekend trip company called as Ola trips. In this Bhavish designed travel packages for the Commonwealth visitors in Delhi. But soon he shifted his focus to transportation as he noticed the gap. Thus, ola cabs were born.
The Ola’s Story:
The idea of Ola cabs came to Bhavish when he was stranded on the way to his from Bangalore to Bandipur. The cab driver stopped his car and demanded more money than what Bhavish was paying. On not agreeing to what the cab driver demanded, he was abandoned by the roadside.
This experience made him understand what an extraordinary cab booking service can do in India. Initially, he started off with Ola trips but soon changed his business model from a tour planning company to a taxi hailing firm. Thus along with Ankit Bhati, Bhavish started Ola cabs in December 2010.
This cab aggregator company bridges the gap between the cab owners and the commuters by adding more technology into it to make life easy and comfortable. When Ola started, they had a call center which used to take bookings from customers. This was pretty similar to other cab services in India.
But within a year they pivoted into an app-based cab aggregation service. This is what differentiated them from other local cab services.
Ola has two apps. One is used by the customers while co-ordinating trips at Ola and the other one is used by the request completing the taxi/cab driver called user application.
Other Revenue Lines of Ola
• Fleet Management via TeleSales
• Trip-Based Commissions
• Ola money in the wallet
• Food panda (Food Delivery)
• Corporate Tie-Ups / Event Tie-Ups
• In-Cab Advertisements
• Peak Time Charges
1. PR – Got Featured In:
- Economic times
- Next big what
- Business Standard
- The Next Web
- Business Today
- Forbes India
2. Word of Mouth
Word of mouth has been one of the effective tactics for Ola to get their initial customers & drivers. According to Piyush Nawalgaria, the roads of Kolkata was ruled by the yellow taxis. Be it price or the condition of the taxi it was not up to the mark. Meru cabs were launched in early 2010, but due to its overpriced rides, it did not do well in getting customers.
There was a gap which OLA captured although Uber was in full swing. Even though the rides were priced high than a yellow taxi but the best part was, you can book a cab from anywhere you liked and they would come to your doorsteps. Also, it offered new users 150 INR free ride. People wanted a quick way to reach to their destination and OLA was the perfect solution to it even if they had multiple options.
“The most popular service is weekend outstation travel. Many people, especially youngsters working in corporate jobs, take weekend breaks with their friends and colleagues. Before Olacabs came into the picture, they had a hard time trying to rent a car. We’re very happy with the response and we intend to expand our customer base in Mumbai swiftly” – Bhavish Aggarwal in an interview in yourstory.com in 2011.
3. Ola Launched its Mobile App
OLA became the first cab service in India to launch its mobile app in 2012 to book and monitor cabs. It aimed to deliver a cab in 15 minutes from the booking time. Making it much easier for people to track the real-time whereabouts of the cab. “25% of Ola Cab’s business comes via mobile app”: Bhavish Aggarwal, founder Ola Cabs to yourstory.com on 10th August 2013
4. Blogging: Ola started blogging from January 2011. In one of the post, they compared how Ola cabs are different from Meru Cabs. Thus giving people the option to compare and choose the best. Click here to read the full article on how are they different from their competitors.
5. User-Generated Content: Users were allowed to comment and review on the services of Ola. This was displayed in the Ola website.
6. Ola Received the Best Startup of the year at the IAMAI Digital awards in 2013
7. Jobs Posted in Various Job Portal: OLA started posting jobs from 2011 in Linkedin, Naukri, Glassdoor, Indeed jobs, monster, wisdom jobs, and monster. OLA has a rating of 3.5 stars as on April 2019. OLA cabs, as a company was first rated and reviewed in glassdoor in 2012 just a few months of its launch.
Posting relevant jobs in different job portal sites is a way of letting people know that you exist.
8. Coupon & Deals Websites: OLA registered themselves in various coupon websites (cash Karo, 27 coupons.com, Indianshoppers.in, mydala.com) offering discount codes to their customers. This was an excellent way of letting the target audience know about their existence.
Blogging: They blogged approximately twice a month. Most of the blog post was about comparing themselves with other competitors and how customers can benefit from the advanced features of Ola.
- Quora: OLA received backlinks from Quora, a platform in which anyone can ask a question and can get an answer to it.
- PR: Ola got featured in many reputed websites and magazines. This had helped them to get solid backlinks in their initial days
10.Distribution of pamphlets with the newspaper: Ola printed about its offer in pamphlets and distributed it along with the newspaper.
Top Of The Funnel
I. SEO: 50. 02% traffic from search (97.59% organic, 2.41% paid)
- Approximately 8-10 articles/month – Check their blog.
- Different tags for blog posts: Most of their blog posts are uncategorized with tags as Ola rentals, discounts, long weekend, offer, outstation.
- 500+ word articles – heavy with full information.
- They also rank for keywords.
Type Of Content They Create
Primary Content: Most of the posts in the blog are primary content which focuses on Ola offers, discount coupon, ola contest, Ola money.
Few examples of primary content in their blog are:
- They have a blog post on OLA money postpaid. It says pay with Ola money postpaid and gets 25% cash back on all bus bookings made through redbus.in.
- They have written a blog post in 2019, where they have partnered with Faasos, an app where you can get amazing deals from your favorite restaurant. So you get 25 % cashback with ola money postpaid.
Secondary Content: Most of the secondary blog posts are regarding trip insurance that can be booked. It features an introduction to customer trip insurance, how to claim the insurance and benefits of the insurance.
Tertiary Content: The blog posts under this category are short with complete information. They are usually 100+ words post.
- In 2017 an OLA auto driver went out of his way to reach a girl to her destination and made sure she is safe. A blog post on Ghasamfar – the auto driver was published in Ola blog. The internet picked up this happy story and got it published in Indiatimes.com.
- A post on Ola inspires its readers to cast their vote as every votes count. Ola made voting easy to go to the poll booth and cast vote.
- A post on the blog encourages its customers to take a minimum of three micro, mini & prime rides to get a chance to win event passes for Holi festival in country club Hyderabad.
III. Direct: 34.76% of people directly type into their website (olacabs.com)
IV. Referrals: 8.44%.
Top Referring Sites Are:
V. Social: 1.96% Ola gets 1.96% of traffic from different social media channels. Let’s see their top three social media channels in it.
- 64,038 subscribers
- Created a series of video on Heroes of Ola &Moms on the move
- The maximum duration of the videos are 4 minute
- Creates a video on almost all the offers /discounts it offers
- Video on “how to use” Ola money, ola share pass
- FB – Check out their profile
- Has a use app button
- Has 1,011,343 followers
- Inspires people to vote
- Motivational post – heroes of ola
- Request for donation with a unique concept by ola restrooms
- Change the cover picture to a strong message
- Wishes on women’s day with a video
- 10-12 posts every month
- Have many tweets with short videos of ola restroom
- Tweets on women’s day with a short video. Drivers wish women on the women’s day.
- Tweets the step by step procedure on how to raise an alert in ola during emergency
- Runs republic day contest
- Runs contest on “win an international trip to Singapore”
- Hassle free wedding with ola
- Request customers to give “gift of words” to Ola drivers
- Tweet on Meghna Sahoo- the first transgender driver of Ola
- Minimum one tweet every day
VI. Offline Events:
- Bhavish has been a part of Techsparks sharing his startup knowledge.
- Bhavish Aggarwal was a speaker at a three-day event of INK.
VII. Paid Ads
Ola runs Google ads, but they get maximum traffic from organic search with only 2.41 % of traffic from paid keywords.
They have got twenty-four PAID keywords. The top five paid keywords are :
- Allahabad to Varanasi.
- Pune to Aurangabad.
- Ola cab offers Jaipur.
- Ola coupons today.
- Pune magical cab service.
Middle Of The Funnel
- After you sign up into ola cabs (website/app), they send emails about discount offers, contest, dine out vouchers, meet your favorite star with an Ola ride contest.
- Ola is very active on Facebook and Twitter where they keep posting engaging posts and contents. Below are the examples of two such engaging post from their facebook page.
Bottom Of The Funnel
- You are taken to the landing page with full details about the discount, contest, blog post after you open the newsletter in the email.
I. Innovation In Technology: Ola cabs captured the market, where people were worried about getting a safe ride in a cab or auto by providing a hassle-free ride. It’s interesting to know, Meru cabs was launched in early 2010 but due to its overpriced rides, it was not doing well to get customers.
Ola was smart enough to capture this gap. Even though the rides were slightly priced high than the taxi but the best part was, you had the facility to make an online booking of a cab.
II. Word of mouth: played a very crucial role in Ola Cabs. Read this article in quora, where Nitin Raj shares his experience with Ola and Meru and gives Ola cabs a thumbs up.
III. High attention to customer satisfaction: Bhavish initially called up the customers to get their feedback. This has helped him to understand his users better. Read the article here where he says he made 10 calls every day to take feedback from users.
IV. Ola acquired taxiforsure: In 2015, taxiforsure was acquired by OLA, this helped the OLA users to get taxiforsure cabs as well.
V. Ola acquired Geotagg: – an intelligence transport based company. It has developed many products for Advanced Passenger Information Systems which was deployed in the Web and Mobile platforms. Geotagg takes care of all the technical platforms and GPS related work for OLA. So if you are happy using Ola for easy booking of cabs, then thank OLA for acquiring Geotagg.
VI. Ola acquired Ridlr: In 2018 OLA acquired Ridlr, which is a traffic alert app which provides live traffic information to the Ola users.
VII. Redesigning of Ola partner site: OLA cabs has approximately 10,00000 drivers working with them. They keep adding new drivers to meet the ever-increasing demand for cab service. The old OLA partner site gave the drivers basic information about OLA and asked them to leave their contact numbers.
The site has been redesigned where you have the option to select your preferred language, gives the drivers complete information with a clearly readable faq section, showcase options to choose by which they can earn money from OLA, shares inspiring stories of existing drivers which gives the new partners more assurance.
VII. Free rides & discount coupons: OLA is now a household name when it comes to booking a cab. The best part about them is, first they provide you a free ride (which I am sure you will love and think of OLA again when you book your next cab again), then they provide you with discount coupons which can be used in your next rides
XI. Cashless rides: Launched OLA money in 2015 which allowed to recharge your OLA app. With this feature, you need not carry cash while you ride. The ride fare gets deducted from the app automatically after the end of the ride.
X. Ola boats in Chennai: In 2015 Ola launched its boat service to rescue Chennai people due to flood. The boats were managed by professional men to rescue the locals and provide food and water free of cost.
XI. Ola partnered: With Skill development and Entrepreneurship department of Maharastra to create ten thousand job opportunities in the state. OLA also partnered with the Haryana government to create thirty-five thousand job opportunity.
XII. Ride now, pay later with Ola credits: OLA came up with the option of ola credit where you can ride now pay later. This option of payment came as a great relief for regular riders.
XIII. In 2017 Bollywood actress Vidya Balan met few women OLA cab and auto drivers. She spoke with them, encouraged them and motivated them to keep the good work going.
XIV. In 2016, OLA introduced OLA share pass. Daily riders will benefit out of this, where they can share the fare of the ride. The best part of OLA share pass is you get to know the names of the people sharing the ride with you even before you board the cab.
Being a woman I always prefer traveling with other females. Keeping safety in mind, I might cancel my OLA share cab if I see only men in the cab.
XV. Brilliant Campaign: OLA gained 8,30000 new followers with a #PeekeMatChala campaign on Twitter.
On 2016 Christmas night there was a series of “drunk” tweet from Ola account. The aim of the campaign was to make people understand that if drunk tweeting is harmful then image what drunk driving could do. This campaign was launched to discourage people not to drink and drive. With this tweet, Ola got 830000 followers. It was one of the most successful campaigns of Ola.
XVI. Ola Cabs Expansion:
Ola acquired Foodpanda: “Foodpanda has come to be a very efficient and profit-focused business over the last couple of years. Our commitment to investing $200 million in Foodpanda India will help the business be focused on growth by creating value for customers and partners.
With Delivery Hero’s global leadership and Ola’s platform capabilities with unique local insights, this partnership is born out of strength,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO of Ola in a statement.
Ola entered the UK market in Sep 2018. Currently, it has a license for South Wales and Greater Manchester. Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO of Ola, commented: “Ola is excited to announce its plans for the UK, one of the world’s most evolved transportation markets. The UK is a fantastic place to do business and we look forward to providing a responsible, compelling, new service that can help the country meet its ever demanding mobility needs. We look forward to our continued engagement with policymakers and regulators as we expand across the country and build a company embedded in the UK.”
UK’s cab market is crowded with apps like Uber, myTaxi, BlaBlaCar, etc. Will Ola get success in Uk? Pranjal Sharma, author of Kranti Nation: India and The Fourth Industrial Revolution said, “There is always room for competition even in the most crowded markets.
However to get a share of the market every new entrant has to offer a value or service proposition that is better than the existing offerings.” – www.entrepreneur.com
Bhavish Aggarwal shares his journey, coming from a middle-class family to running a multi-billion dollar company
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Company Name: Policy Bazaar Insurance web Aggregator Private Limited.
One-Liner: “Compare buy save” – Tagline.
WHAT DO THEY DO?
Policy Bazaar is an online platform that aggregates insurance plans and serves as a marketplace for policies.
Policy Bazaar has tied up with insurance companies to provide their customer with information like price, terms, insurance cover, benefits, etc. They have more than 9.394M unique visitors to their website every month.
Policy Bazaar had a growth of 228% in 2017-18.
They sell more than 17,000 policies per month.
In 2018, they had raised $200M as funding from the Japanese based conglomerate, Soft Bank. With this Policy Bazaar became the second Fintech company to enter the unicorn club after Paytm. Policy Bazaar has more than 5000 employees headquartered in Gurgaon, Haryana.
Founders: Yashish Dahiya, Alok Bansal, Avaneesh Nirjar
CEO: Yashish Dahiya.
Desktop/App: Responsive and Mobile friendly Website. App on Google Play and the App Store.
Table Of Contents:
1. The Idea To Start Policy Bazaar
Yashish Dahiya’s first venture was First Europa, a car Insurance comparison service company established in London, 2005, which failed to take off although it served across nine geographical locations. Besides, he had the experience of working with an online travel aggregator. With all these experience he moved to India in 2007-08.
While he was analyzing his father’s financial documents he came to know that his father was not given the full information about his insurance and that his father was cheated by an insurance agent. These suspicious activities lead him to start Policy Bazaar in India with Alok Bansal and Avaneesh Nirjar.
Policy Bazaar has 12 investors with total funding of around $346M.
i). Intel Capital, May 2011.
ii). Intel Capital and Inventus Capital Partner, March 2013.
iii). Inventus Capital Partner, Info Edge, and Intel Capital, April 2013.
iv). Tiger Global Management, May 2014.
v). PremjiInvest, Tiger Global Management, Ribbit Capital, Steadview Capital, ABG Capital, April 2015.
vi). Temasek, Tiger Global Management, PremjiInvest, Info Edge(India) Ltd and other investors not disclosed, October 2017.
When it comes to business, it is good to have competition. Similarly, Policy Bazaar also has competition.
Here is the list of few competitors of Policy Bazaar:
4. How They Got Their Early Adaptors
i). SEO: Yashish Dahuya says that in the early days they had a digital marketing team dedicated to SEO and content.
5. Marketing Summary – Today
Top of The Funnel
SEO(Search Engine Optimization):
i). Articles related to the insurance industry.
ii). Text-heavy articles.
iii). Articles with a word count ranging from 500 to 6000.
iv). Policy Bazaar is not consistent with publishing articles.
v). They post 0-13 articles per month. Not consistent.
vi). 55.13% of their traffic comes from organic search.
Types Of Content They Create:
i). Business-Primary Content: Policy Bazaar shares content explaining various benefits of using their services.
ii). Industry-Based- Secondary Content: Articles on the insurance industry and insurance companies and their benefits. They cover topics like “What type of policies they are selling and what benefits they are providing to the customers”.
iii). Interests and Persona-Tertiary Content: Policy bazaar aims at solving customer queries and problems with their content. The articles include tips, criteria to consider, guide or methods.
Articles like How to check Life Insurance policy status online, Tips to Buy and Renew Cigna TTK Health Insurance Online,
i). 11.13% of their traffic comes from paid traffic.
ii). Policy Bazaar has 33 Google PPC keywords.
iii). They have around 307 ads running at any point in time.
iv). They run Text ads, Image ads, and HTML ads.
v). Policy Bazaar has a total of 806 image ads, 2071 HTML ads and, 17456 text Ads running.
vii). Policy Bazaar runs branded keyword ads, generic keyword and competitors keywords ads.
- They have ads with brand name+main category, which act as a branded keyword ad.
- They run generic keywords ads where they target a particular category of the Insurance sector. Example: Life insurance plan 2019.
- Competitor keyword ads: Policy Bazaar’s competitors are the insurance companies itself, selling their policies directly on their website.
xi). Yashish Dahiya in one of his Youtube video said that Adwords helped them in their starting days. He states how their traffic increased with the use of AdWords.
1.17% of their traffic is from social media. They are active on major social media platforms, but engagement is not that encouraging.
i). Youtube: Channel Name: Policy Bazaar
- Policy Bazaar has 12,475 subscribers on their channel.
- Shares primary, secondary and tertiary videos.
- Primary content- explaining policy bazaar and its benefits.
- Secondary content- explaining the benefits of different types of insurances like SIP, ULIP.
- Tertiary content: Policy Bazaar conducts discussions and events with common people and guides them. They share views regarding current events, eg. women’s day, Holi, etc.
- In social media channels, youtube acts as a major traffic driver.
- They share 7 to 9 video per month.
- It contributes to 43.64% of social traffic to the website.
- There are 405+ videos with 12,000 + subscribers on youtube which explains the benefits of policy bazaar, how to use it, how they can make a profit from Policy Bazaar and so on. Traffic to their website is driven by these videos as well.
ii). Facebook: Policy Bazaar
- 150,447 followers.
- Facebook contributes to 27.69% of policy bazaar’s social traffic.
- They contribute 5 to 6 posts per day.
- Type of posts: Primary, secondary, tertiary posts.
- Primary content: Shares features of Policy bazaar website like mentioning benefits of “my account” on their website.
- Secondary: Shares 2 to 3 articles from their website.
- Tertiary: Sharing customer feedbacks.
- Sharing videos from their youtube channels.
- They have a Facebook page dedicated to their help desk named as PolicyBazaar Help Desk.
- On their Policy Bazaar HelpDesk page, they share customer feedbacks and features of PolicyBazaar like explaining benefits of “My Account”.
- They contribute one post per day on their help desk page.
- They spend on Facebook Ads to reach their customers on Facebook.
- Quora contributes 18.91% to their social traffic.
- People asking for suggestions on whether they should go for online purchase of policies.
iv). Twitter: Policy Bazaar
- 12.2k+ followers.
- They tweet 4 to 5 times per day.
- Share content similar to facebook.
v). Linkedin: Policy Bazaar
- 18,861+ followers.
- They post 4 to 5 times a day.
- It contributes 1.66% to their social traffic.
- Articles from their website.
- New features of the website.
- Employees birthdays, employee awards are shared.
- Events, discussions videos from their youtube channel are shared.
i). 7.39% of Policy Bazaar’s traffic comes from referrals.
ii). They use affiliate marketing.
iii). Platforms used for affiliate marketing:
i). Television ads: Akshay Kumar, the famous Bollywood actor is their brand ambassador 2018-present.
There are Tv commercials featuring Akshay Kumar to generate awareness to the wider population.
ii). They are increasing their expenditure on television ads. HotStar acts as a catalyst to generate awareness among young people about insurance.
iii). Featuring on personal finance shows: Experts from Policy Bazaar attend personal finance shows and answer queries related to insurance industry. They have appeared on ZeeBiz.com, India today, News24, CNBC Awaaz, headlinestoday.
Middle Of The Funnel/Constant Engagement With
i). Visit the website to compare policies.
ii). Submit phone number and email id. They send quotes to our email id.
iii). Compare different policies.
iv). Make a purchase.
v). If we don’t make a purchase we get a sales call, helping us to decide and make a purchase.
Bottom Of The Funnel
i). After buying we get all the information to our e-mail.
ii). Thank you page.
6. App(Android and IOS)
i). They have 1M+ app downloads.
ii). Policy Bazaar App is easy to use on the go.
iii). All the purchases are visible under My Account section.
iv). The Funnel for the App works the same as the website.
v). As we install the app, we are asked to create an account.
vi). Compare policies.
vii). Get call from sales team explaining policies.
viii). Make a purchase.
ix). Thank message along with purchase details.
7. Top Growth Hacks That Have Stood Out For Them
Articles: Policy bazaar has a praiseworthy collection of quality content on their website. There is a detailed explanation of each and every category/topic. Every category page has a detailed explanation of their products. Content on their website targets various keywords/age-group related to the Insurance industry.
If you type a search phrase related to insurance; Policy Bazaar appears in the first 3 positions on Google. Their articles are very informative. This attracts traffic to their website and in turn results in the sale.
ii). Policy Bazaar has Call to Action on every page and in their article page.
iii). Television Ads:
The use of television commercials to educate the larger population attracted more people to visit their website. The use of famous comedians like Kapil Sharma and Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar worked well for their digital awareness campaigns.
iv). Customer Service:
At Policy Bazaar they believe that business growth is when they solve customer problems faster and effectively. So, Use of Amazon Polly, a text to speech solution helped them solve their customer queries. This resulted in happy customers.
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Company Name: Freecharge Payment Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
One-liner: “It is this homework that helps you demonstrate a workable solution and helps to make Naa Se Haan possible.”- Kunal Shah
Industry: Internet and Telecommunication/Financial Services.
Available on: Desktop and mobile.
Desktop/App: Desktop and Mobile App
- Android App:
- iOS App:
- Rating: 4.6 out of 5 for 197.8K ratings
Table Of Contents
What Do They Do?
- Freecharge was Founded on August 2010, headquartered in Mumbai, India. Owned by Axis Bank.
- Current employee strength- 200 to 500.
- Founded by Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon with the current CEO as Sangram Singh.
- Freecharge can be used as a wallet to pay bills, recharge a mobile phone, and purchase goods on Snapdeal, book movies on BookMyShow, and tickets on IRCTC, among others. But along with this, the FreeCharge wallet can also be used to transfer money to other users, bank accounts, and to NGOs.
- Freecharge’s Services include Recharges, Bill Payments, UPI Money Transfers, Deals, Gift Cards, and Mutual Funds.
- In 2015 Snapdeal bought Freecharge for an undisclosed amount and later in 2017 Freecharge is bought by Axis Bank which it’s current owner. It raised $177.6M in total from 6 private funding rounds.
How They Got Their Early Adopters?
- The initial idea of Kunal Shah was to provide coupons for “Distributing retail coupons with recharge“. Early on August 2010, Freecharge had around 50 transactions a day with the website launched among their friends.
- The team started working towards increasing usage of credit/debit cards (They targeted Student communities at IIT’s, NIT’s, ISB Hyd and IIM’s) among the public while approaching retailers to accept the Freecharge coupons.
- Offline events
- Presented at Startup Saturday event where they got conversion from college students
- Social Media Marketing
- Freecharge gained traction in twitter in the form of tweets as a response for the offline events they conducted which aimed at spreading awareness about freecharge.
- Freecharge got Featured in
- Apart from all, Freecharge team also worked on Blog posts about various recharges offered by service providers and other blog posts (Cricket match prediction competitions are one of the kind)
- Freecharge observed an increase in transactions from 50 to 500 while the team started facing real difficulties in terms of operations and coupon delivery. (They were depending on the courier system to deliver the coupons).
- Later Freecharge started onboarding more partners and then in later stages upon growth, mergers and acquisitions took place
Marketing Summary –
- Avg Traffic – 7.25 million
- SEO – 75.66%.
- Direct – 52.17%.
- Social – 0.41%.
- Youtube: 55.95%.
- Facebook: 22.28%.
- Whatsapp Web app: 11.73%.
- Quora: 3.51%
- Twitter: 2.60%.
- Others: 3.93%.
Top of the funnel
- 1 article/month – Check their blog (no new articles in 2019).
- 200 to 500-word articles, few articles have videos(2 to 5).
- 75.66 % of traffic comes from SEO.
Type Of Content They Create:
Business – Primary content.
- Product updates
- How to
Industry-based – Secondary content
- Emerging industry trends
Interests & Persona – Tertiary Content
- Content-based on Social Causes
- Display Advertising
- Facebook Ads
- Newspaper Ads
- A chat window pops out
- They are actively replying for comments that have been made and are actually trying to help out their customers
- 1,412,142 members
- Posts 5 to 15 times on a monthly basis
- Changes the cover picture to broadcast messages
- Posts are about offers and any new integrations with new companies
- Conducting challenges or a task for freebies like coupons. These type of posts observed much better engagement when compared with others
- Interactive videos which are less than one minute based on Sentiment, Appraisal, Explaining the features of the app, Cashbacks, National events/Special days observed
- In Initial stages, Freecharge ran ads in FB
- 37,416 members
- 1 post a week
- No much engagement noticed in their LinkedIn channel
- They don’t have LinkedIn Icon along with other social media Icons in the website footer.
- 57k Subscribers
- All are promotional videos explaining the offers and latest updates
- 134k followers
- Seasonal Contests are working better for Freecharge on twitter
- Actively replying for the comments/queries by users
#KahaniAppraisalKi is being used for creating engagement while Freecharge is awarding prizes for good/interesting appraisal story
Referral Traffic: 5.78%
- Referrers are mainly the payment gateways through which all the transactions happen and few other sites like IRCTC, Swiggy and other partners of Freecharge while the customers avail coupons for every transaction they make from the Freecharge’s partner
- Top Referrers:
- Initially, they had participated in college events to bring brand awareness and later on there are no notable offline events held.
Middle Of The Funnel/Constant Engagement
- Sends out promotional emails which include coupons for every transaction, also the offer varies for each customer based on their previous transactions made.
- Text Messages
- Sends out offer messages for customers to make them transact again
- Free coupons valid across Freecharge’s partner outlets/businesses
Bottom Of The Funnel
- Give’s customized offer based on previous transactions
Top Growth Hacks That Have Stood Out For Them
- Freecharge offers coupons for every recharge or a transaction made on its platform.
- Freecharge partnered with very popular brands like McDonald’s, KFC, Costa Coffee, Café Coffee Day, Myntra, Barista, Domino’s, PVR Cinemas, etc which obviously attracted more people to transact using Freecharge.
- Got Mentioned in a viral reality show named Emotional Atyachaar which is based upon the state of romantic relationships amongst the Indian youth. At the end of the particular episode, the following text is displayed: “Issued in public interest by FreeCharge.in.” as Credits which gained the viewer traction.
- Adopting UPI for its payments, Introduced Freecharge on WhatsApp where users can send and receive money
- It’s a win-win situation where the transactor and the service provider are beneficiaries. (Which is the core idea) The win-win situation is one strong reason behind Freecharge’s existence in this competitive field. This may not be a growth hack but this is something which helps Freecharge to standout.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with Subject Line: Company name<> Feature Us
- Company Name: Big Basket (Innovative Retail Concepts Private Limited)
- Industry: Online Food & Grocery Store
- Type: B2C
- Founder/CEO: Hari Menon
- Co-Founders: VS Sudhakar, Vipul Parekh, Abhinay Choudhari and V S Ramesh
- Year & Place: 2011, Bengaluru, India
“We want customers to get hooked, and make our service harder to replicate”-Hari Menon
Table Of Contents
- What Do They Do
- What Platforms Are They Present On
- The Idea To The First Set Of Customers
- Demand Validation To Growth
- Marketing Summary- Today
1. What Do They Do
One Line Definition: Big Basket delivers the groceries you like at the time you love at the comfort of your fingertips.
How they were able to get there is a story in itself.
Bigbasket, India’s largest online supermarket has been through quite a fascinating journey. This journey is incomplete without discussing the founders’ startup journeys prior to starting Big Basket. It all began in 1999 when Hari Menon (Now CEO- Big Basket) along with his friends VS Sudhakar, Vipul Parekh, Abhinay Choudhari and V S Ramesh started their online retail website called “Fabmart”. Imagine an e-retail store in 1999, this is way before Flipkart and the likes ventured into the e-commerce space in India. After realizing that their idea was something belonging in the distant future, they pivoted to a physical chain of grocery stores called Fabmall. They scaled it up to 200 stores across south India before they sold it off to Aditya Birla Group who renamed it to what we come to know of as “More”.
Sometime around 2011, they started thinking about their original idea of Online grocery store and with the internet penetration set to rise in India and with Flipkart already operating in the online retail space, the same set of friends decided to Launch Big Basket.
The journey is even more unique when you look at the age of the founders who were in their Mid-40s when almost all other entrepreneurs were at least half their age in 2011. For all the good reasons, that experience clearly shows up in the passion-filled execution of ideas at Big Basket. That’s pretty much what it took to make it one of the unicorns in the Indian startup ecosystem with a valuation of $1.2 Billion. Let’s take a look at how exactly they went about achieving it.
2. What Platforms Are They Present On
Customers can order groceries from their mobile phones through the app or web browser on Mobile and PC.
3. The Idea To The First Set Of Customers
They started the operations from Indiranagar, Bengaluru. The initial adopters were upwardly mobile young Indians who wanted to avoid the pain of navigating through Bangalore traffic to get their groceries.
And, as Evident from Hari Menon’s quote, right from the start Big Basket’s focus has been the customer. The founders have used the knowledge gained from the dot com era in the right manner. They didn’t resort to scaling quickly or use deep-pocketed discounting to acquire and retain customers. Instead, their focus was customer satisfaction. The biggest challenge was to build and maintain the capacity to meet customer demand.
At the time when many of the startups in hyperlocal space were adopting a zero inventory model, Big Basket bet big on the inventory model. The founders strongly believed that to address the huge demand that existed, one had to maintain the quality of products as well as services. Hence they had to adopt the inventory model.
On the back of this strategy, they were able to drive high customer satisfaction. Reports have shown that they had close to 70% repeat customers, growing at a rate of 25-30%.
This growth speaks volumes about their efforts towards customer satisfaction as they didn’t spend a huge amount of cash on advertising and mainly relied on Word-of-mouth. Their stats reflect that a whopping 45 % of new customers were through referrals.
4. Demand Validation To Growth
Word Of Mouth
- Ask the expert was a campaign run by Big Basket on their facebook page, where they invited highly skilled nutritionists, stylists, and dieticians to spread awareness about the benefits of good food and style.
- While this was related to the industry in general, they employed a strategy to reward Facebook fans who asked some impressive questions.
- This strategy helped them acquire more customers as the winners of the above campaign spread the word about the campaign, unconsciously campaigning for Big Basket. By this time their operations were spread across seven cities.
- After acquiring a Hyperlocal delivery startup called “Delyver”, Big Basket launched an express delivery service. Customers could opt for a 1-hr delivery of select products.
- The success of this service greatly helped further Big Basket’s name in the Indian Online Grocery Space.
- Big Basket also launched a lifestyle blog. They post quite frequently with content ranging from “know your food” to “trending styles from Divas”.
- However, as per data from Similar Web, the traffic sources to their websites are as follows.
- Direct: 20.59 %
- Referrals: 14.85 %
- Search: 22.18%
- Of the 22.18 % Search traffic- 100 % of it is Organic and only one set of keywords contribute to all of that organic traffic. Guess what those keywords are? I think it’s unfair to you guys, here you go. “London men’s fashion week hairstyles“
- Social: 42.37 %
- Mail: 0%
- Display: 0%
- Just short of 5% of their website traffic comes from all of the social media put together.
- About 86.25 % of the traffic from social media comes from Youtube alone. Considering the host of Cookery videos and ease of targeting customers who will be willing to shop at Bigbasket.com, this doesn’t come as a surprise.
- However, they post quite a good number of videos every month but their total number of subscribers is just short of 7000.
- They also engage with Facebook audience through various food, style, and health tips, with occasional campaigns like the “Ask The Expert”
5. Marketing Summary- Today
Top of the Funnel
- Big Basket publishes about 25-30 articles/month. These are mainly about DIY styles, style trends, travel food queries, recipes, food benefit articles, etc.
- Majority of the articles are about 1000 words long. They are also embedded with youtube video links wherever applicable. The blog drives traffic to Youtube videos, in turn, youtube videos direct users back to BigBasket.com
- Their SEO story is quite amazing. Look at the metrics and am pretty you’ll be impressed.
- Traffic Overview: An estimated total number of visits: 7.65 M and this has mostly been constant over the past 6 months at least.
- A whopping 60.37 % of traffic is direct: The brand recall is so strong[Proof of the customer-centric approach the management took early on] and the usage is so frequent for any customer that they directly enter the website in the search bar when they think of ordering groceries online.
Type of content they create:
- Business: Primary Content
- Knowledge-Based articles on benefits of various fruits, vegetables, and which of the beauty products are better for what type of skin, etc.
- They drive traffic to these blog posts from the social media campaigns.
- Industry Based: Secondary Content
- They create content revolving around the travel and lifestyle industry.
- Though highly unrelated they post content on travel destinations suitable for each season.
- Interests & Persona- Tertiary Content
- Content-based on DIY recipes
- Content-based on DIY Styles
- Of the 31.18 % search traffic, 74.64% is Organic & only a quarter i.e 25.36% is paid
- Type of Ads they’re running
- Branded: 23.51 % of their Ads are branded. Meaning they specifically focus on showing the name “Big Basket” in their ads
- Non-branded: 76.49 % of their Ads are non-branded.
- Main paid competitors: Grofers.com, sparindia.com, licious.in, olay.in etc.
- Main Organic competitors:naturebasket.co.in, grofers.com, paytmmall.com, dmart.in.
- Estimated Monthly Ad expenses: $705
Influence Through Social Media
- Chat window pops out- Yes
- Placed phone number here for an easy call- Yes
- Number of members-385,151
- Post 35-40 times a weekly basis
- Change the cover picture to broadcast messages- Yes
- Haven’t seen them doing any polls lately.
- Motivational messages- Yes
- Say they’ll provide something for free for emails- No
- Webinar content- No
- Number of members: 16,893
- No of posts/ month: Zero
- Type of posts that have really high engagement: NONE.
- A meager 1.02% is through referrals: Below is a snapshot of the referral as well as destination sites from Bigbasket.com
- Majority of their referral traffic comes from below sources.
- Forums- None Found
- Events-None Found
- Conferences-None Found
- Speaking Gigs
- The founders in their earlier days were interviewed by a lot of magazines like Livemint, YourStory. Coverage in these type of magazines gave them a good reach to the working class population who were also their target group.
Middle of the funnel/constant engagement with
- Email: While they do send newsletters about the content posted on their blog, the referral traffic from email is 0 %.
- Facebook: They post about 35-40 posts a month to engage customers/audience.
Bottom of the Funnel
- Sales Call
- Thank you page
Top growth hacks-That have stood out for them
- Am astounded by the fact that the majority of their traffic is direct. Meaning the brand recall is so much that people don’t even google for grocery shopping, they directly enter bigbasket.com whenever they want to shop for groceries.
- Second thing being, though their initial customer acquisition was through discounts, the customer engagement and retention thereafter has puzzled me. Though I couldn’t find any data on that it’s something that I’d like to research even more.
Email us at email@example.com with Subject Line: Company name<> Feature Us
Fact Sheet :
Business: Data visualization Products
Founder/CEO: Pallav Nadhani
“Even in this intangible world of software, it is all about people. Customers, employees, vendors, partners, industry watchers, they are all people. And people have their own aspirations, wants and needs, that you need to listen to and take care of. ”
– Pallav Nadhani, Founder and CEO , FusionCharts
Table of contents :
- Early days (Marketing)
- Idea to demand validation aka 1st Customers
- Launch of FusionCharts
- Summary of Marketing
- Advice from Pallav AKA Words from Pallav
The story that FusionCharts has written :
FusionCharts, part of InfoSoft Global Ltd, is privately held software provider of data visualization products. These are clean readable charts at an affordable price with minimal effort.
In the last decade, the company has been a stellar example of absolute genius of solving data monotony with their fascinating skills.
A 100% bootstrapped company, FusionCharts caters to 23,000 customers and 500,000 users in 120 countries. Apple, Google, ZOHO, Cisco, Facebook, Intel, LinkedIn, Microsoft are some of its major customers worldwide. It has clocked revenues of up to $7 million (Rs 39 crore) and has only been climbing the ladder ever since.
A) Launching the Idea :
The ideal choice that Pallav had was to create interesting and fascinating charts for the boring business presentations. In his early days, he encashed on his engineering skills and curated interesting chart that could go along with the articles that he wrote for ASP Today. With time, he received good response and thus developed his first product FXcharts that gave his customers different chart layouts for presenting and analyzing their businesses.
Pallav has directed all his energies in building his idea into a product. He did all the coding single-handedly in almost 3 months. However, to sell the product he had to price it well and check if there was enough demand for it in the market.
Virtual Software Store came to their rescue and gave them the lowest price software could be priced at – $15. The software store also helped them with collecting payments. However, the hefty 25% gateway fee was becoming a trouble. They kept cheque payments as an alternative.
2. Idea to demand validation aka 1st Customers :
Now that the product was ready for the market, it was significant to comprehend if the market was ready for the product.
- Technical sites: It was his obvious option for writing about the product and marketing it to his customer base. He also went back and discussed about his product with the developers at ASP Today.
- Word of mouth: Slowly the word travelled and his first purchase request hit his mail. He describes it as the ‘sweetest email anyone had ever written to him.’ He got his first cheque payment.
- Feedback: : He was in constant touch with his customers to understand their needs via the early downloaders and feature requests that kept coming in. He released 4 new versions of the FXgraphs in a span of few months.
3. First Set of Customer to Growth :
On 22nd October, 2002, he launched FusionCharts keeping in mind every mistake that he had made in the past.More Chart types, better documentation, a logo and a tagline to go added to the product. He backed this by sound payment options, completely removing cheque payments.
Pallav priced the user edition at $35 and developer Edition at $99. This was a product ready to explode!
i) Guest blogging on tech websites :
Blogging on tech websites had been the foundation stone of the FXgraphs and had worked exceedingly well for it. Thus, the tested method was applied at Fusion Charts as well. He drew comparisons between traditional charts and the new age modern choices that his tool presented.
The working and installation of his tool was indeed advanced and yet easy!
ii) Directories :
Tech directories were indeed another major market where the potential customers of Fusion charts could be easily targeted. These directories have a huge relevant crowd that would serve as a ready demand for the product at hand. Demand met supply!
As a startup if you’re interested, here are a 100+ directories that you can list yourself on.
iii) Featured listings :
Realizing the potential of directories, Pallav shelled out a hefty amount of $256 to get featured listings on directories, which was earlier used as a free platform to increase his visibility.
iv) Adwords :
Google Adwords were underpriced then and were indeed the best way to market your product extensively. He grasped the basics of search marketing and worked his way up to $1.4M company in the single financial year.
If you want to look at their exact SEM strategy, take a look at SEMrush.com and it will give you keywords, ad copy and ad strategy.
v) Resellers :
In non-speaking countries, Fusion Charts used the reseller model to their benefit across countries like China and South Korea. Fusion Charts were now hitting big numbers on all charts across revenues and accessibility! The reseller model is a 3 tier strategy wherein, the sellers are divided into Elite Resellers, Preferred Resellers and Authorized Resellers depending upon the sales they generate and the association they have with their buyers.
vi) India Trade Shows :
Trade shows in NASSCOM conclave familiarized people with his product and company with creative ideas of ‘make a chart, get a cookie’. It was a huge success.
vii) Huge PR coverage :
Almost all-home and foreign media treated Fusion charts as their own baby and threw immense amount of limelight on it. It a major marketing push!
Slideshare, a brand that has gone places, picked up a lot of modules of FusionCharts and published them on their websites only adding to the numbers that were accelerating at a good pace.
To understand how Slideshare grew from a tiny start-up into a mammoth in its industry, check this out.
ix) Growth numbers :
FusionCharts grew to10k users by March 2008 with $2.8M in revenue. It had a lot of the fortune 500 companies as part of their customer list including NASA and World Bank.
i) Gadgets for Google :
Stepping up to the opportunity presented by iGoogle, they released FusionCharts Google Gadget. Google put it out as a featured gadget and wrote about it on its blog. This was a classic example of free marketing being more valuable than paid marketing.
ii) Combating Competition:
His competition was twerking Pallav’s product and selling it at cheaper prices. Pallav combated competition very smartly by giving out the previous version for free when he launched a newer version of the product. Thus, making it the most inexpensive.
A) Marketing :
i) Creation of Book :
Luck favors the prepared. As the company reached 20k customer mark in 2012, Packt Publications came out with a proposal to write a beginner’s guide to Fusion Charts, making it the first data visualization solution in the industry to have a book!
ii) More trade shows :
International trade shows sealed its presence! It was bound to emerge at some point and it did so globally at these trade shows.
iii) Huge PR:
A) Obama : “ Obama follows FusionCharts on social media”, “the President loved them” were the biggest marketing stunts that created immense value for the company. Obama had personally put FusionCharts on the map!
B) Federal Charts : US Federal IT used Fusioncharts to display the statuses of important IT projects to the public. It was easy to build and easy to understand. Huge marketing tactic for the company!
iv) Sales Team :
Pallav decided that it is time to have a dedicated sales team at work. Even while setting up this team, he was clear that, sell FusionCharts to a customer only if he needs it.
FusionCharts came out with a new website that acts as a medium of communication between the company and its customers. All the new features and versions of a product could now be found at one place.
A lot of updates are released as and when the market demands. :
- Collaboration Filters on SharePoint in May,2018
- Brand new Dev-centre with videos and tutorials in March,2018
- FusionCharts v3.4 released in June, 2014
If this seemed interesting, take a look at our other marketing breakdowns that we’ve cracked for you earlier.
|LAUNCHING THE IDEA||Blogging + Charts visualization on technical sites like ASP Today.||Lost money on first sale.|
|IDEA → DEMAND VALIDATION||
||3D Version of FxGraphs had no buyers.|
|DEMAND VALIDATION → GROWTH||
||Competition that was stealing from FS.|
|GROWTH TO EXPANSION||OFFLINE:
Partnerships with larger events
- Advice from Pallav AKA Words from Pallav :
Pallav has had his blinkers on for more than a decade and a half. From the horse’s mouth :
“The past decade as a sum of business learnings has been nothing short of tremendous. Nothing in the business world is carved in stone. Traditional business wisdom has no guarantee of working for you. Business isn’t just about your product or service, a large part of it is about what people feel about you. A genuine conversation, a good story, they all add up. “
BYJU’s joined the fast-growing and much sought after Unicorn Club earlier this year after it touched the $1 billion valuation mark. It is the first EdTech company from India to reach this milestone and also enjoys the distinction of being the only member in the club from the Indian Edtech space as at date.
Business: Developing online learning solutions (K-12 segment) and competitive test preparation platforms in India.
Founder/CEO: Byju Raveendran
Co-founder: Divya Gokulnath
“The problem with our education system is that it gives more importance to breadth than depth. We tend to create many generalists and very few specialists. The focus is on working hard on your weaker areas. On the contrary, I believe you should focus more on building your strengths.”
– Byju Raveendran
- Early Days
- Launch of Idea
- Idea to First Set of Customers
- Demand Validation to Growth
- Growth to Expansion
- Distribution of Traffic
- Summary of Growth
- Founder Insights
Named after its founder, BYJU’s went from being a pioneering offline learning platform to a successful online learning medium that caters to the K-12 education system of India. It also provides prep solutions for professional courses such as GMAT, CAT, IAS, and JEE. What began as an offline coaching center is now a behemoth in the Indian education market. BYJU’s growth story is that of a startup which purely grew offline based on its founder’s brand to fit the needs of a market perfectly. BYJU’s, one of the largest EdTech companies in the world today, working towards revolutionizing education through technology. It is poised to address the challenges that plague schooling in India – lack of access to good teachers and undue emphasis on exams both of which lead to poor student outcomes.
BYJU’s has had an eventful entrepreneurial journey thus far. A timeline to help capture some key milestones.
During his childhood, Byju studied in a Malayalam-medium school in his hometown of Azhikode, Kerala, both inside and outside the classroom. Despite being born into a family of teachers (mother was a math teacher and father a physics teacher), Byju was accustomed to an unstructured environment which helped him choose between study and play at will. His parents and teachers never interfered in his learning or games which helped him immensely. They encouraged his interests in sports which led to him playing multiple sports at the University level.
After finishing his schooling he went onto pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the local university which was acceptable by his parents. They wanted him to become either a doctor or an engineer (may sound familiar to most Indian children) and they were content with his decision. He graduated and went on to take up a job as a service engineer with Pan Ocean Shipping Ltd, a UK-based shipping firm. This job required him to be at sea for six months of the year. When he docked in 2003 for three months he went to Bangalore to meet his friends which is when Byju discovered his special ability for teaching complex and advanced concepts with relative ease.
Launch of Idea
In 2003 while on vacation in Bangalore, Byju offered to help his friends study for the CAT exam, the common entrance exam for the IIMs and other Indian business schools. He too wrote the exam for a lark. His friends did well and he ended up scoring in the 100th percentile. He did not want to pursue an MBA so he did not give the interview.
He took the exam yet again in 2005 and scored in the top 1 percentile. Got in again and attended the interview. Byju was clearly not interested in the destination but in the process. His approach to studying for an exam such as this was what he wanted to focus on and spread among friends.
Byju’s Approach to Learning
Due to his upbringing, Byju had a different approach to learning.
- Byju didn’t read a lot of books but picked up English by listening to commentaries.
- He focused on the underlying problem while trying to find solutions to questions.
- His efforts were directed towards digging deep and capitalizing on his strengths as opposed to knowing just the basics of everything.
- Byju did not give in to the general tendency of practicing to perform under pressure. He learned for the exams but learned enough so that the exams were a smooth ride. Like any other day.
Byju began sessions with 10 friends who in turn told their friends. The count grew to 15 and the sessions turned into informal workshops being conducted in coffee shops. It slowly grew to 30-40 people which is when they had to take it to a classroom. All these sessions were free. He helped people to understand the problem underpinning a question and break it down into something which was a lot easier to answer. According to Byju, “you learn the best when you start asking questions, not to teachers, not to parents, but to yourself.” The other aspect of his teaching involves getting students to take on the primary responsibility for their learning by taking the pressure off, making the concepts attractive, and getting them excited about learning.
Idea to First Set of Customers
The first signs of monetization came with wanting to conduct the sessions at a larger scale due to increased demand. Once there was a demand for more than 50 people Byju and his friends decided to find an auditorium. The auditorium rental was Rs. 100,000. They decided to charge Rs.1000 per student and gauge how many people actually signed up. The marketing was through word of mouth and references. The attendees were serious CAT aspirants and almost all were working professionals. On D-day the auditorium was filled with 100+ people and they more than met their costs.
This entire journey began with his halt at Bangalore for a vacation and he stayed on to do this with his friends during his 3-month break. He didn’t think of this as a business at the time.
Demand Validation to Growth
It was 2007 and by now BYJU had figured out who his customers were. Although the CAT had both verbal and math sections, a lot of his hacks and content focused solely on Math and Data Interpretation. The results were promising which led to word spreading about the sessions and students signing up before the exam.
During this phase, the approach started informally and only when the results began to show it became a lot more formal and organized when Byju realized that he was clearly not going back to his job at the shipping firm. The plan was to make the classes scalable as a program across cities in India.
Here is how he and his team went about setting things up and how it panned out –
- It would be a 10-week program but students could also join between Week 1 & Week 10.
- The program would have a rolling format with multiple ongoing batches.
- There would be weekday and weekend batches.
- People would need to pay upfront for the 10-week program.
- The initial price point was set just to break even
- There was an initial free session followed by the 10-week session.
Competition (at the time)
- TIME, Career Launcher, PT Education.
- Organizations, not individuals.
- The team zeroed in on a few select colleges through the respective alumni.
- All the marketing efforts were student-led. 2 to 3 enterprising and active students in each college served as evangelists who helped promote a free quant workshop which was then followed up with signing up for the program.
- They did everything from booking the auditorium to getting close to 200 to 300 students to attend by leveraging the alumni connection and building a brand with the use of student power.
- This was done online through social groups, mailers, and virtual bulletins.
- They also used offline media such as print flyers, ads and of course, word of mouth to spread the word.
- The pitch used to help draw in the students was “Classes by a CAT topper. Backed by strong content.”
Until 2007, close to 2500 students in Bangalore had already graduated from the program.
- The program was conceptual and motivational.
- It was divided into intense 4-hour workshops which called for extreme focus. If you blinked you would end up missing something.
- It was unstructured, unlike the conventional class format.
- The program offered a lot of hacks on how to beat the exam.
- It offered tons of conceptual clarity, making it easier for students to solve all kinds of questions.
- Students were able to see an immediate increase, with some moving from 97 percentile to 99.
- The format offered plug and play concepts with immediate results.
Growth to Expansion
This phase of growth saw robust efforts being made towards marketing, product development, and expansion activities. BYJU’s had the advantage of speed. The team was able to gauge the need, required aptitude and expand in the respective areas.
Newspaper Ads: Print Ads were placed in national and regional newspapers like The Hindu urging CAT aspirants to try out this “new kid on the block”. A lot of students registered because it was free. More often than not they would receive a call from Byju himself after they registered. A personal account of a student who got to know of BYJU’s through this route.
TV Ads: BYJU’s launched TV campaigns to encourage learning among students. These led to the total number of app downloads crossing 6 million. Despite not spending a great deal of money, BYJU’s managed to tap into serious users (almost 70%) that were present in the non-metros.
Large Scale Workshops: The team began organizing workshops on a larger scale with close to 5000-10,000 people in attendance. BYJU’s moved the venue from auditoriums which could no longer house such numbers to stadiums. The app was thus downloaded in large numbers by the attendees.
Google AdWords: This form of online marketing was deployed under BYJU’s parent company, Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd.
Word of Mouth: The local student representatives in each city helped spread the word through verbal and virtual bulletins.
Books with Notes: In addition to the classes BYJU’s also sold books which provided simple notes for every topic that facilitated the learning process.
Tab + Preloaded Educational content: It partnered with Samsung to sell a pre-loaded tablet which contained UPSC content. Until the time of the exam the tablet could only be used to study from content related to the exam, but after that, it became a general all-purpose tablet.
Subscription Model: BYJU’s used the subscription model to generate revenues. It charged a yearly subscription of Rs.12000 which was its main income generator. The SD card sold as part of the subscription could be used on a mobile phone or tablet.
Courses: Classes taken as part of the courses were a huge draw and contributed significantly to the revenue stream.
Apps: These provided a range of services and ways of engagement-
Mentoring: It was used to provide mentoring sessions that cost Rs. 1000 for a 45-minute one-on-one session.
- The user could create the session
- Choose the individual subject/topic
Quiz: Students could invite friends and challenge other students across diverse subjects. The App provides a Quiz Up like interface for the same which helps improve engagement.
Tests: There were free tests the users could take to increase learning and improve their knowledge.
YouTube Content: With 139,000 subscribers, BYJU’s monetized through ads on YouTube.
BYJU’s The Learning App
The app mainly targeted children from Grade 4- Grade 12
- The app had a freemium model (free and premium) right from the beginning.
- There was a 7-day free trial @ Rs 299
- The full course could be downloaded @ Rs 9,900
- Average price was Rs 10,000
- It had categories of content
- No discounts were made available. The logic being the price was pegged at Rs. 1000 a month. This price was maintained from the beginning. Only government schools and those who could not afford it were not charged. However, there was a large market that could afford it. It was a more expensive option when compared to a textbook, but a lot cheaper than a tuition center.
Format of Content
- Free videos
- Free tests
- Unlock complete course and content at a price
- It took 4 years to fully develop this interactive product through multiple explorations and product focus involving formats and options.
- The product combined Tech + Media + Content. According to Byju “Most Edtech companies across the globe, ones who actually create content do it in two ways. One is by simply capturing what is being said and the second one is by using 2D animation, 3D animation and characters to teach. What we have done is, we’ve mixed real teachers with animation, making it a seamless experience. It took us so much time and so much effort to bring out the energy through the videos.”
- The app contains popular videos, free concept videos, guides.
- It also contains a Live Chat feature.
- The biggest challenge is the notion that students need spoon feeding.
- Without the freemium model, it was difficult to demonstrate the potential for the same.
- Getting students to use a tablet has been a hassle, but the next generation will learn only from tablets.
- Establishing a pan India brand in the offline model is difficult.
Summary of Growth
|Launch of Idea
(2003 – 2006)
|Idea to First Set of Customers
(2006 – 2007)
|Demand Validation to Growth
(2007 – 2009)
|Growth to Expansion
(2009 – 2016)
Distribution of Traffic
SimilarWeb, a data collection tool was used to gather statistics related to online visitors.
Close to 81% of the traffic is from search due to its high Domain Authority in India which increases the probability of its content showing up on organic results for users in India where it is majorly used. It is also indicative of BYJU’s optimized content. BYJU’s ad budget is mainly taken up by Google’s Display Ads which get featured on sites globally, followed by some local sites and paid referrals.
The social traffic is mainly through YouTube where BYJU’s hosts its training videos. It also receives significant mobile traffic through its diverse and free learning apps which are a roaring success.
As at April 2018, BYJU’s had 15 million users, close to 900K paid annual subscriptions and a high annual renewal rate of 90%.
The funding history with specific milestones appears in the Timeline above.
However, there was significant learning before and after the fundraising events that Byju speaks of.
Why Raise Funds
- Byju did not need funds for operations in India. He needed them because he aspired to make BYJU’s a global brand.
- He did not copy the US or China when it came to product development. BYJU’s products stand at the intersection of Content, Media, and Technology which cannot be fully automated. The funds are required to propel a brand which clearly goes beyond education. It is an amalgamation of the aforementioned pillars of communication.
- India is a particularly difficult market in which to get students to learn from a device (mobile/tablet). However other English-speaking countries are a lot more advanced and are already onto this. However, the products in use are below par thus Byju wants to expand and create products for these international markets.
- It wants to use a significant portion of the bandwidth available from funding to create interactive videos and games.
- 100% of the revenue earned is retained within BYJU’s. Everything is done in-house. Right down to the background voiceover and music. Byju wants to keep it that way.
- He has and will continue to use the funding to acquire interesting products that can help the brand gain a competitive edge.
- Byju selected investors who actually love Edtech, liked the initiative and were not interested in investing only because it is hot.
- The company saw early and continued interest and support from Aarin Capital, followed by Lightspeed India Partners, Sequoia India and Sofina.
- BYJU’s was the first Asian company to be selected by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for investment towards creating a social impact.
Use of Funds
- Accelerate product development.
- Launch new disciplines and a tech piece for students.
- Hire more people.
- In 2015 the BYJU’s The Learning App was launched.
- The app was developed into a highly personalized platform with a very strong tech team.
- Learn on your own: When you learn on your own, you are making questions. Byju’s learning methods predominantly hinged on visualizing techniques to understand concepts.
- Take up a Team Sport: Playing outdoor sports from a very young age gave Byju a lot of the social skills and confidence that have taken him far in his business ventures. The balanced focus between study and play helped him both in class and outside too. “That’s how you develop your skills on how to work in a team, lead a team, how to inspire. The killer instinct and controlled aggression, it’s all from what you learn in class and a great deal from outside,” Byju adds.
- Play with Numbers: Math should be treated as a shorter language and not a subject. A language comprising words, variables, and numbers. Byju structured his learning so as to consistently play with numbers on a daily basis. This also led to a very unconventional way of teaching because of his understanding of the language. Still speaking about Math.
- Build a Personal Brand: The efficiency of the product/service should be synonymous with your brand’s persona to reinforce customer confidence and brand recall.
- Create Offline Communities: The offline model is a lot more crucial at the outset for personalized service and to help spread the word through references. This may be overlooked due to easier access through the online model.
- Maintain a Lean Operation: BYJU’s clearly had a lot of funding very early on but it took a keenly followed lean model that led to reaching the much-awaited Rs. 100 crore revenue milestone earlier this year.
- Make it Goal Oriented: Attaining short-term goals consistently while keeping your eye on the prize helps build momentum and keep things moving.
- Creating more Byjus: According to him “If you ask me where I have been successful, it’s in recreating a lot more Byjus or better than the original Byju. I have been able to sell my vision of making an impact in terms of how the students are learning and why that is important. Coming from my kind of background, I know that education is the reason for what I am today and education is the only way to make it big or the best way to make it big, depending on which section (of society) you belong to.”
- Building a special culture: For Byju the line between office and family is thin. Friends and family are at work. Every day is a Sunday when you do things that you love with everyone aligned to the same vision.
On Personal Growth
- Compete with yourself day in and day out: Your competition is not with others, it is with yourself. Especially when you are creating something which people have not done before, the competition has to be with yourself.
- Increase your aspirational level as much as possible: Even if it means losing, maintain a benchmark that is par excellence.
SlideShare needs no introduction. It went from being a pivot of an already successful consulting business (Uzanto) and a pioneering software (MindCanvas) to being a force to reckon with in the professional content community present online. SlideShare had established its behemoth position in the content space when it was acquired by LinkedIn that helped leverage its reach among other perks. Here is a quick look at all that went into making it the Quiet (not so quiet now) Giant of Content Marketing.
Business: Knowledge/Content sharing platform.
Founder/CEO: Rashmi Sinha
Co-founders: Jonathan Boutelle, Amit Ranjan
“We have taken a medium, a cold format for business communication, and made it social.”
– Amit Ranjan, Co-Founder, SlideShare
As the name suggests SlideShare is an online platform that helps people share slides and presentations. Formats such as .ppt .pdf .key can be uploaded and viewed on the site. SlideShare creates engagement through likes, shares, and comments by users on the slides present online. It has revolutionized presentations and the way people see them.
- The Founding Team
- Genesis of SlideShare
- SlideShare’s Growth Story (Behind the Scenes)
- Acquisition by LinkedIn
- SlideShare’s Revenue Models
- Distribution of Traffic
- Summary of Growth
- Founders’ Insights
The Founding Team
SlideShare didn’t actually start off as SlideShare but was a pivot from a consulting business called Uzanto. The backstory of SlideShare began in 2001. Rashmi, a Psychology graduate from Brown University was pursuing a PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Even though she liked the program, a small part of her knew she wanted to build things and not churn out research papers all her life. The web and its workings managed to pique Rashmi’s curiosity enough to follow it up with her professors in the Information Science department. She discovered her passion for Social Software and Interface Design.
In 2003 when the internet boom was unfolding, Rashmi decided to dabble with this phenomenon and founded Uzanto, a user experience design consulting company in 2003. At Uzanto she had clients that included the likes of eBay, eBay, Blue Shield of California, AAA of California, and Ellie Mae. Her husband, Jonathan Boutelle, a software engineer and her brother Amit Ranjan an MBA professional joined her at Uzanto and helped build on the method Rashmi had devised and translated it into a software. While Rashmi and Jonathan worked out of San Francisco, in 2004, Amit started the company’s subsidiary in Delhi and hired 5-6 team members.
In November 2005, the team released MindCanvas, an online game-like software that ran surveys and facilitated customer research through technology. The use of MindCanvas as a product was sold to leading companies like Microsoft and Yahoo. MindCanvas was monetized as a result and the team was able to run it for 1.5 years without any funding. MindCanvas was the first live instance that demonstrated the distinct skill set each founding member brought to the table – Rashmi contributed to the Design/UX component, Jonathan to the Technology aspect and Amit to the Business-side of things. 2 years into MindCanvas and the team realized it was a B2B product which was built around their consulting practice at Uzanto. This meant they would only be able to scale with people and not technology. They clearly had complementing skill sets to start a technology company. This was just the beginning.
Genesis of SlideShare
In 2004 the trend of unconferences, an open version of technology conferences was on the rise. These were also referred to as bar camps. It brought people in specific areas, both professional and geographic together and they paid to attend it. In 2005 the San Franciso Bay area began to host 1000s of bar camps aka Startup weekend or Mobile Mondays.
In 2006, Amit and Jonathan organized the first bar camp in India at Adobe’s office in Delhi NCR. People from all over the world were in attendance with presentations being made throughout the day. The presenters wanted to distribute the presentations to the audience members and reached out to Jonathan and Amit to help them do that. They noticed that a lot of people were taking pictures of the presentation because it was easy to share images and videos of images on YouTube, Flickr, and such platforms. They were also exchanging files on USB drives. But there was no direct platform on the web that was able to host these presentations in their original format.
It seemed like a problem that needed a solution and they decided to pull out a few engineers from MindCanvas and see how a product could be built around this feature. It took 6 months to build. A very basic version of SlideShare saw the light of day in October 2006. In December 2006 they decided to shut down MindCanvas which was running successfully.
SlideShare’s Growth Story (Behind the Scenes)
Idea to Prototype
According to Amit Ranjan, Co-Founder & COO of Slideshare “The idea behind SlideShare initially began as a product for conference organizers to share slides. The focus was presentations and making them robust. Use by conference organizers was the first application and the focus was to reach out to this category of users. The first version was really basic. It allowed the user to upload a file, copy and use the embed code generated on external platforms. SlideShare became a utility for uploading and sharing a PowerPoint Presentation.”
Early Adopters to Growth
The idea began picking up with more and more users hosting content that garnered traffic and was also a simple and seamless way of communicating their ideas to the world. Initially, users barely tracked the performance of their content on SlideShare. After the first few months users took notice of the traffic their content was generating on SlideShare.
The SlideShare team was driven by product and focused on building capability. Their only marketing spend post-launch was the product review carried out by Tech Crunch titled Introducing SlideShare: PowerPoint + YouTube.They got their early adopters from the word that spread through the feature in October 2006.
6 months down the line the team discovered many other uses for SlideShare –
- Users were initially hosting presentations on YouTube which was not the best format for it. SlideShare was proving to be a more web-friendly format for presentations in their original format. This attracted a lot of users.
- People started inserting photos in a slideshow and shared it on SlideShare. It was well optimized in a horizontal format. Click, click, click. People loved its ease and SlideShare got a lot of users.
- Companies were using these presentations as a marketing tool.
Product/Market Fit to Scale
The data handling and analytical portions of the backend were not too sophisticated. They were more observational, intuitive and gut-driven. Even the decisions that came from them. Especially because there are different types of data and a lot of it is superficial with little or no bearing on the actual trends and performance of the product. However, if you dig deeper there are a lot more insights. For instance, the team realized that among the top ten content creators, more than 50% had signed up with their company email ids. So the use of SlideShare was more professional than personal. The companies were not necessarily on SlideShare. The database revealed the latest trends.
Game-Changing Growth Hacks
The SlideShare team resorted to several hacks that proved to be crucial game-changers at the product/market stage –
Placing Content on the Homepage to Drive Engagement
The team noticed a certain type of content gaining popularity on the platform. The content read like a visual story and was a huge relief from the tech-heavy ppts. The team looked further and noticed these visual slides were being uploaded by designers and creative agencies. To cash in on it they tried this hack. They put the content on the Homepage and then sent an email to the uploader informing them of the same and encouraging them to send the link to their friends. This feature went viral with people sharing the link to their work on the Homepage and at times also followed it up with a blog post about the event. The viral loop was insane, drove engagement and worked very well for SlideShare.
Come right back to SlideShare
SlideShare installed a feature in all of the presentations uploaded online. It was the ‘View on SlideShare’ option that allowed visitors to open the presentation in SlideShare after locating the deck on an external website. So even though users were able to upload a presentation, generate a link and embed the code on their blogs and websites, the visitors still had a way to find themselves back on SlideShare if they clicked on the icon to view on SlideShare. This feature also helped advertise the SlideShare brand on external sites the web over.
Share via email and social shares
The team inserted social hooks for sharing through Twitter and Facebook and mainly through email. All of these sharing tools are still very much in use even as of today.
SEO Hack (Organic search)
To build in SEO, the team took text and links from images and placed it as a transcript below the presentation. Thus the bottom half was for bots to identify text and the top half was for humans to view the deck. This made the page longer and created stronger SEO value for the same.
YouTube videos inside SlideShare
How to get people to engage with the content and make it more exciting for them? A tough one. But SlideShare found a solution. Considering a majority of the content was textual in nature with bullet points, subtle layouts, the presentations could be rather boring. Videos were exploding at the time. They began fusing videos with content to drive engagement. They began embedding links using IFRAME into decks and this drove a ton of traffic. They even taught users how to do add sound bytes, screenshots and make their presentations talk. Here is how. Considering they began as the YouTube of powerpoints, this hack was inevitable.
Getting Angel Investors who were SlideShare users on board
When the team was looking to expand and raise funds for the very first time they reached out directly (through good old email) to distinguished members of the SlideShare community who also happened to be angel investors. These included Mark Cuban, Jonathan Abrams, and Dave McClure. They were some of the first ones to invest in SlideShare.
Added Analytics for Users
The team added analytics around metrics that would help users determine how their presentations were performing. These included traffic sources, visits by geography/source and engagement stats to name a few. They also published a Guide on Analytics and how it could be accessed for each user account.
Embeds leading to Backlinks
The team wanted people to embed content. This idea came from what they saw on YouTube. New users usually found YouTube by way of video links embedded onto blogs. With all the readers of the blogs getting exposed to SlideShare, embedding was becoming a form of free marketing. This resulted in 60% embed links on the site and 40% across other websites. SlideShare was the very first website on the internet that did this actively. Each time somebody copied the embed code and put it on the blog, they got a link back to their website. With every embed, they got a backlink. It did wonders for their SEO. They got 10,000s of backlinks from harvard.edu. However, they dropped this later because they figured Google may find it spammy.
Best Presentation Contest
SlideShare had a whole bunch of users who created presentations frequently. From 2008 they began hosting the Best Presentation Contest annually each year where users were free to make presentations on whichever topic they fancied. Pre-determined categories were made available and the panel to judge these presentations were the who’s who from the world of communication. These included experts like Guy Kawasaki, Bert Decker, Garr Reynolds, Jerry Weissman, Jane Hart and Beth Kanter to name a few. The idea was to have killer slide decks go head to head for some of the best prizes (sponsors included the likes of Microsoft) on offer and the coveted title of Best Presentation on SlideShare.
April Fools Day Prank
On 31st March 2009, SlideShare decided to play an April Fools Day prank on their users by adding two extra zeroes to their presentation views on SlideShare. They sent out emails to users and asked them to mark their tweets with #bestofslideshare. People were surprised and fooled and the prank managed to do what it was meant to…have some fun but it also stirred up some conversations on Twitter even though the views were rolled back to normal within a few hours. The hack managed to grab eyeballs and trigger engagement but it also drove home some Lessons for the SlideShare team. They realized statistics were sacred and an April Fools joke can only be called that if people figure it out within 30 seconds of viewing it. Learning has always been an important aspect of SlideShare and they treated this too as a hack that taught them a few truths.
Fuze Meeting + Slideshare, Tell a Story Contest
In 2009 SlideShare got together with Fuze Meeting (now fuze) to host a storytelling contest. They wanted audiences to tell their stories in words and pictures, using audio or video. Whatever they preferred but within 30 slides. It could be a brand story or even something that people cared about. They had a line up of prizes for various categories and also a widely known judges panel to decide the winners. The contest garnered traffic and engagement with people sharing links to the contest and their presentation on social media and through email.
What did not work?
- Zing was one feature added by SlideShare that clearly did not work. This feature was derived from the model of voting things up and down. Features like social sharing, no of favorites, no of comments were already present on SlideShare to indicate which content was most engaging and liked. Zing proved to be an artificial way of doing something that was already factored into the features and thus nobody got it, nobody used it and the SlideShare team was compelled to remove the code and throw it out.
- SlideShare faced some heat in terms of competition within the presentation sharing space with the advent of Speaker Deck which claimed to be simpler and not cluttered. Speaker Deck was acquired by Github. It is a free service with no ads and can only handle pdf files up to 50MB. It is mainly used by the programming community.
SlideShare was built with a lot of hits (Zipcast for instance) and a few misses. It was a high gestation product which required the team to rough it out for 3 to 5 years. They survived and thrived with the right expectancy and mindset for an innovative product.
Acquisition by LinkedIn
With the world’s largest professional network (LinkedIn) acquiring the world’s largest professional content community (SlideShare), the outcome was a complementary one. At the time Slideshare had around 50 million users and Linkedin had 350 million users. Clearly, there was no risk in the product and the two put together made for a lethal combination. Professionally it made complete sense and personally, too it made complete financial sense. Everyone at SlideShare had equity and the employees also stood to gain from this acquisition.
SlideShare’s Revenue Models
Barring Paid Accounts here are some of the unique revenue generation models deployed by SlideShare –
B2B Lead generation
Lead generation is very popular on SlideShare with companies offering products/services being able to attract and convert visitors and prospects into individuals showing a keen interest in the company. The lead generating element in the case of SlideShare is the online content created and shared by individuals and companies seeking to spread information about
Content Ads on LinkedIn
This format provides a paid option for clients to gain targeted engagement and leads through rich and optimized content on SlideShare. SlideShare & LinkedIn together provide a strong source of earned, owned and paid options for marketing through these content ads. With the acquisition by LinkedIn, brands now have a unique opportunity to share their content with LinkedIn’s professional community through SlideShare Content Ads. These ads can also feature company news, videos, and blogs. Thus brands can showcase their content as SlideShare presentations and market it to targetted professional communities in the LinkedIn space.
AdShare & LeadShare
AdShare lets companies run ads on SlideShare which are relevant to the content that people are viewing. LeadShare, on the other hand, prompts users on the site to provide their contact information either before or after viewing a presentation if they wish to receive additional information about the sellers (companies) and their products.
Distribution of Traffic
SimilarWeb, a data collection tool was used to gather statistics related to online visitors.
Even though a lot of competitors have come up in the slide sharing place, SlideShare is still the most visited and used platform for sharing and uploading presentations. The fact that it receives a lot of its traffic from search isn’t surprising. Its high Domain Authority increases the probability of its content showing up on organic results. Also, a lot of marketers especially in the B2B space have started optimizing their content on SlideShare to show up for organic results.
From all the SlideShare hacks that you see in this content piece, SlideShare has an embed feature which gives them a ton of referral traffic. Now, Similarweb may not reflect that but even today that’s been their #1 strategy for growth.
Takeaway: Looking at this data, I would recommend if you’re a B2B business, look at the kind of content that is doing well on SlideShare in your category and see if you can create a better version of it and rank for it.
Summary of Growth
|Idea → Prototype||
|Early Adopters → Growth||
|Product/Market Fit → Scale||
The SlideShare team gathers product insights in a very balanced and holistic manner. This is how they approach the periodic review of SlideShare.
- They begin by analyzing everything. The qualitative and quantitative data or as they like to put it the art and the science. But at first, the emphasis is a lot more on the art. More qualitative first, then quantitative.
- In SlideShare given the diversity of content, the initial part is a lot more iterative thus more experimental and a lot more art and less science. The reverse is true for LinkedIn which is more science thus more predictive and formalized research is involved and a lot less art.
- What is science/quantitative data in this regard?
- Overall User Behavior aka superficial data. This can be sourced using Google Analytics.
- Individual User Behavior Data that helps identify who the users are.
- Product Data which helps identify what type of content is leading in views and engagement and how are users interacting with it.
- System Data helps identify features that are most in use and also email addresses in use. For instance, a close look at the leading content creators indicated that they used their work-related systems and not their personal accounts.
- What is art/qualitative data in this regard?
- Feedback which provides insights into what people are saying about the product.
- Observational Data which delves into the general trends noticed around the use of the product.
- Give your team the chance to express themselves and showcase their ideas.
- Instill a sense of ownership.
- Create a culture that believes in giving ideas a fair chance.
- Make people believe the company/team is iterative and open to change.
Their parting shot on how to get it right while starting up – Stay super lean and agile in the early days. Aim for a quick release.
I found a gem of an interview conducted at Stanford where Rashmi Sinha and Jonathan Boutelle spoke rather candidly about how SlideShare came to be and their journey with it. This dates back to February 2010 before the LinkedIn acquisition. Worth a watch. Cheers.
InMobi acquired the coveted title of India’s First Unicorn when it earned a $1 billion valuation and was strategically positioned to challenge the status quo of Google and Facebook in the mobile ad space. Despite the doubts and questions around InMobi’s profitability and success over the years, it turned full circle (yet again) this year when it made it to CNBC’s Disruptor 50 List for pathbreaking innovations that have elevated the mobile advertising and marketing industries to the next level. In more than a decade of its existence, InMobi has experienced several highs and lows. Let’s take a brief look at their entrepreneurial journey through it all.
Brand: InMobi (Originally MKhoj)
Business: World’s largest independent mobile advertising network
Founder/CEO: Naveen Tewari
Co-Founders: Abhay Singhal, Amit Gupta, and Mohit Saxena
“One has to figure out ways of competing by doing things differently. If we do exactly what others are doing, it would not work.”
– Naveen Tewari
- How InMobi Grew to Be a Disruptive Company
- Early Days
- Launching the Idea with mKhoj
- Pivot to InMobi
- The Business Model
- Desperate Times Led to Desperate Measures
- From Testing Methodologies to Actual Growth
- Finding Newer Markets, a Boon
- Finding Suitable and Scalable Talent
- Funding – Round 2
- How InMobi grew Beyond Expectations
- How It Spread across UK First, US Later
- What Made It Successful in UK
- How InMobi Used Traditional Marketing And Grew
- Breaking Boundaries with Geographical Expansions
- Recognition, Series C Funding & Rebranding
- How InMobi Matured And Found New Frontiers
- InMobi’s Marketing And Growth Strategy
- Early Milestones
- The Interlude
- Summary of Growth
- Distribution of Traffic
- The InMobi Culture
- InMobi’s Approach to Disruption