Nandan Nilekani invests in Mubble, as a part of their Series A round
Nandan Nilekani has made a personal investment in Mubble, a smartphone app that helps users track and control their telecom spends and mobile data usage. Mubble does this through their self-learning, on-device text analytics engine. They give users access to their telecom spends and mobile data usage information across SIMs (for dual SIM users) to help users make smarter decisions when it comes to using their smartphones.
Story so far
Mubble was founded in 2013 by three friends, Ashwin Ramaswamy (IIT Madras, IIM Bangalore), Pranav Jha (IIT Bombay), and Raghvendra Varma (IIT BHU). Ashwin has over 18 years of experience in telecom and retail, having worked in leadership positions with Airtel and headed marketing for Jubilant Retail. Pranav has over 20 years of experience in building products, in both early stage and mature technology companies across multiple continents in the banking and analytics domain with Appnomic, Vhayu, and BMC Software. Raghvendra has over 23 years of experience and was a founding team member at OnMobile where he built product platforms.
Mubble’s has patent-pending on-device analytics technologies to enable data crunching on smartphones, reducing the need to send data out of smartphones to central servers. Ashwin confirmed that the funding is a part of their Series A round and will mainly be used to scale up their technology team. They currently have a team strength of 16 and plan to expand to 40 by the end of this year. He added,
We are thrilled to have Nandan Nilekani, one of the pioneers of the IT revolution in India, with us as our mentor and strategy coach. His investment is a very powerful validation of our product.
Since going live six months ago, Mubble has clocked over half a million downloads. The app has been designed to work offline to help users conserve their mobile data and is available in multiple Indian languages. Mubble found that nearly half of their users use the app in their mother tongue instead of English. Ashwin confirmed that their current focus is on further enhancing the product and reaching out to more users. Revenue generation is not the main concern at this stage though they have multiple strategies and plans to monetize and plan to implement them once they reach about five million users.
For Nandan Nilekani providing support and funding to this initiative was a part of his ethos and inherent belief about the power of a Digital India. He said,
Mubble brings transparency and empowerment to the smartphone user by democratizing technology and solving key problems of smartphone adopters across India.
Related read from 2014: How starting up in 80s wasn’t the same as today, Nandan Nilekani shares his thoughts
Mubble has an experienced founding team with interdisciplinary backgrounds in marketing, analytics, and mobile technology platforms. They also have a validated product with over half a million downloads and access to analytics about usage patterns of their users. With features catering to dual SIM users and multiple Indian languages, the app caters to specific needs of Indian users. It will be interesting to see how they further accelerate their growth and gain more traction.
While the smartphone user base is growing across emerging markets such as India and others, most first-time smartphone users may find it confusing to keep track of their talk time and data usage. So Mubble has a large target audience of both first-time mobile users and experienced users. While Mubble focuses on helping users track their spends there are a few other platforms such as Gigato and mCent which help close the loop by making mobile data more accessible to users by providing either data or talk time in exchange for usage.