One97 is a reputed name in the mobile VAS space in India. Along being in a front runner in providing SMS based solutions for businesses, the company is also the creator of Paytm, a leading online credit recharge service. After establishing itself as a key player in this space of the mobile industry, the company is now `focusing on delivery of mobile content, mobile advertising and mobile commerce.
One97's early stage mobility fund is a $100 million fund aimed specifically for startups in the mobile ecosystem. It has been in the news recently for
having exited Singapore based gaming company TheMobileGamer and an investment in Bangalore based Dexetra.Sandeep Amar, vice president of mobile marketing, oversees App development, WAP and app distribution at One97. He also works on the product strategy for One97's emerging Ad-Network. In and interview with YourStory.in, Sandeep shares some unique insights into the mobile apps, marketing in the app ecosystems and the world of the WAP, which is by far the most established mobile platform in emerging markets such as India.
YS: After having established itself in the Mobile VAS space, what are some of the newer focus areas that One97 is looking at?
Sandeep: One97 has an established WAP enabling platform. These are essentially WAP portals, which are easy to access for most devices in India. Indian consumers react to WAP and targeted monetization models. We also help a lot of developers and entrepreneurs in the mobile space with App Store optimization and marketing. As for apps, we are focusing on making apps based on the in-app payment model. Markets like India have seen an increase in uptake of apps and we're hoping to see the same with some of the apps that we're looking to release soon.
Essentially, the focus is towards creating a paid mobile ecosystem.
YS: What are some common mistakes made by Indian app makers?
Sandeep: Apps in general cater for a larger ecosystem and have a larger audience. A lot people look at local demographics and write off apps, and often overlook the fact that someone in US or UK can use the app. Where region and demographics come into play is in the kind of apps that we're making. For example, a contest app will work anywhere in the world.
Secondly, it's important to release your app to the intended target audience at a beta stage because how the developer will use it will be very different to how the actual users will use it.
And finally, a lot of developers are not mindful of the returns the app will bring you. An app with a million users and without a monetization model is next to useless for the maker. That's why it's one of our key focus areas to make a paid app ecosystem.
YS: What are your views on the WAP ecosystem of India?
Sandeep: WAP is a more established industry in India. The only place I see it changing is via change in product quality. This is because it is very dependent on the customer lifetime value; you want the consumer to subscribe to the service and renew it after a while.
WAP is generally a bigger playground. A lot of India is experiencing internet mobile first. Apps will eat a little bit into the WAP spaces but I feel a large portion of mobile internet consumption will happen on WAP.
YS: What are you views on HTML 5 apps?
Sandeep: I think it's an extension of the WAP space because in the end, it also runs off a browser. But as it is distributed in as an app, i think there is great potential in that space. While WAP sites cannot go viral, apps most definitely have. And these apps will run on all platforms, so it's an interesting avenue for us.
YS: Tell us a little about One97's Ad-Network.
Sandeep: It's still work in progress for us and I can't share a lot with you on it. We will be launching a public beta sometime in January next year, so you'll have to wait until then. We also see great potential in the area of real time bidding, and that's something that we're working on. Again, I can't share much on that front, but when it's out we will let you know more about it.
YS: What are you looking forward to see at MobiSparks?
Sandeep: I think the mobile ecosystem is thriving and I look forward to seeing all the movers and shakers in this industry. Also there aren't many events like this happening in India and we need more of these in the future. I'm really looking forward to being there.
Sandeep from One97 will be there at MobiSparks. What about you?
One97 is an official sponsor for MobiSparks.