FreeCharge acquires offline app store Preburn
FreeCharge, the online recharge website has acquired Preburn, a beta stage startup in the mobile space. FreeCharge is a growth stage startup that has been gaining in momentum and was most recently in news with its acquisition of Wishberg (founders of Wishberg moved to Freecharge post shutdown). Alok Goel, the CEO of FreeCharge (who was previously with redBus) announced via email, “We acquired Preburn, a stealth mode start-up, founded by Mohit Mittal, Manikanta Nikhil and Vijaysimha Reddy.”
Preburn has been in beta and is primarily an offline app store designed for Rapid User Acquisition, offering app publishers a large pool of users and hence, faster attainment of critical mass. Apps of different genres are installed on users’ devices at the time of purchase from retail stores. App publishers can make use of their advanced device and locational targeting functionalities for enhanced performance. Preburn’s business model entices retail stores to push out the apps to all customers. Leveraging the “My new phone” sentiment of users, this model gives a fair chance to all products for getting users on board. “We are committed to provide a low cost accelerated growth to our clients and make the adoption amongst users easier,’ says Mohit.
We covered FreeCharge first back in 2011 and taking a broader view since then, it has been clearly emerged that India is a mobile first country. Majority of new Internet users experience power of Internet through mobile phones. As a result, there is huge opportunity to efficiently onboard these new users to the world of mobile internet. And this is where Preburn aspires to disrupt. “Preburn aspires to facilitate smooth on-boarding for new smartphone users. The founders share our vision around discovery of mobile apps. Freecharge’s resources and expertise would give them speed of execution and would help serve a wider user base across the country,’ says Alok.
The mail from Alok mentions that the current step is in line with their last acquisition of Wishberg (we have reached out for more details). “We have invested in bringing great minds on board with Preburn which is a team of five IITians. The technology and innovative approach of Preburn would not be possible without their outstanding team. We’re hoping to get good ideas out of the garage and into the market, where they belong,” he says. The product will be launched soon, stay tuned for updates.
Update: We got on a call with Alok Goel to discuss the deal
YS: Tell us about the deal, when did you meet the company?
AG: The deal was closed pretty fast. Preburn is a team of talented guys from IIT and once we saw what they are trying to build, we offered them to come onboard which will give them more freedom to build the product. Their team quickly aligned with our philosophy and the deal was closed in a few weeks.
YS: How does Preburn align with Freecharge?
AG: We are a very aggressive mobile first company and are very bullish about it. At the core, Freecharge is the only online-offline marketing company working at this scale (via coupons, etc.) and this is where Preburn fits in very well.
YS: How do you plan to integrate the product?
AG: At the moment, the focus is on building Preburn and getting it out. Integration would be looked upon at a later stage.
YS: Are more acquisitions on the cards?
AG: Yes, we are happy to look at more deals and are very much interested in companies that play in the mobile+marketing mix.