[Startup Bharat] From Udupi to Singapore, how Nuntium became the first startup from its town to get acquired by an international company

Udupi-based Nuntium, which provides SaaS solutions, helps companies across various industries take their content global. It claims to be the first startup in the region to get international attention.
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Udupi, known for its majestic temples and delicious food, recently came into the spotlight in the world of tech startups when 25-year old tech company Robosoft was acquired by Japan's TechnoPro Holdings this year. Manipal-based Nuntium, however, claims to be the first local company to go global. 

Launched in 2017 by Dilip R Adiga, the startup helps local and regional media companies to create their digital presence in “no time”.

Nuntium was acquired by Singapore-headquartered ad tech company Infomo last year in a cash-and-stock deal. The companies did not reveal the transaction amount. As a part of the acquisition, all the employees (seven) including Dilip are now required to work for Infomo under various divisions.

Dilip heads the mobile division for Infomo. 

“All employees are still working out of our Udupi office,” Dilip tells YourStory.

According to Dilip, easy access to the internet has led to people accessing content on smart devices. 

“Because of the vernacular support of smartphones, any person with a smartphone could consume textual or video content on the device. We learnt early that the biggest barrier for regional news agencies was the cost of taking their platform digital.  So we developed a platform that is cost-efficient and easy to deploy thus making it easy for any regional channel to have its digital presence in no time,” he says. 

The beginning

Dilip is a tech and startup enthusiast. An engineering graduate from Karnataka-based N.M.A.M. Institute of Technology, Dilip started two startups earlier in the tech services space. While he shut down his first startup, he exited from the second to focus on Nuntium.

 “Ever since I involved myself in the startup world, I was fascinated with content space, especially news. During my previous startups, I worked with news agencies where I learnt that there is a huge potential in developing a product for the news industry especially for tier 2 and tier 3 news agencies,” tells Dilip.  

Keen to work in the digital content space, he discussed the idea with his friends Sanju Puliyankalath, Hrishikesh Menon, and Niketh Shetty, who also grew up in Udupi. Further research and exploration of the field led to the foundation for "Nuntium", a Greek word that means "piece of news or piece of information".

Dilip started the project with an initial capital of Rs 35 lakh, which he raised via a personal loan. The other three friends joined as a founding team but soon moved on to start other businesses in different fields.

Initially, the startup team helped news agencies take their properties online. The team then worked on building a “great tech product” for customers. By 2018, it launched the final product — a SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform that helps publishers and media companies to get a ready-made tech backbone.  

Nuntium roped in the first client immediately after the launch of the solution, a feat that Dilip says, is a big milestone for a product company.

The acquisition

Dilip met Infomo’s Founder and CEO Ananda Rao in Bengaluru in 2018 when he had come down to meet one of Nuntium's clients. 

“When he met me and heard about the product, he immediately found it valuable and showed interest in collaborating together,” recalls Dilip. 

In the middle: Infomo’s Founder and CEO Ananda Rao

The collaboration started by licensing out the Nuntium platform to Infomo and providing technical support to Infomo’s own SaaS platform. This, Dilip tells, translated into Ananda’s further interest in acquiring Nuntium. 

“We discussed internally with the team, and after the due diligence, we went for it,” tells Dilip.

The growth

Nuntium found success quite early in its journey. At the time of its acquisition, it had four regional news channels clients from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. 

“Our revenue was based on a simple subscription model where any agency would pay us a monthly subscription or if they were already a reputed channel we would work with them on the revenue sharing model,” tells Dilip. 

He says that the company started making revenue from 2018 itself which supported the company’s operations and that the acquisition has added validation of the company he built from scratch.

Dilip says that in the future, he would too like to get back to start a new venture and build a product from scratch. “But, that for later, at this point my focus is towards building products and Infomo Media,” he says.

 

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti