Last month, digital marketing company Brightcom announced acquisition of Media Mint (Vuchi Media) in an over Rs 560 crore deal. Media Mint’s founder Aditya Vuchi, a serial entrepreneur, tells Telangana Today about what clicked, startup ecosystem in the city and his plans to support startups through angel syndicates and venture capital funds.
We started the company 11 years ago. That was the time when we realised that a lot of spending was shifting from traditional advertising to digital advertising. Before this, I worked in an online advertising company in California between 2005 and 2010. Later, I quit that and started Media Mint with co-founder Neelima in Hyderabad. There was a shortage of talent globally of people who understood how to run campaigns on ad platforms. Media Mint has been in business for 11 years and in last December it got acquired by Brightcom. What started with two people has grown to be a 1,300 plus company. We never raised any capital from external sources.
Some of our smaller clients grew with us. This in turn gave business to us. We noticed that scale brings credibility. If you are too small, not many people will be willing to work with you. We almost doubled our workforce last year from the about 700 to more than 1,300 people. The growth is because consumers are spending so much time on their screens due to Covid. It is natural for the brands to spend more of their advertising budgets on the digital medium.
The other startup is Doosra, an alternate mobile number sans the sim that attempts to solve privacy issues. It is exactly the reverse scenario of the regular mobile calls. If I have your regular number, I can call you. You can decide to block after that. But In Doosra, all calls are blocked by default. If the number is added as a trusted contact, only then the call will come through.
Mobile numbers are asked at malls, super markets, restaurants, buildings and more. You can give Doosra everywhere but still have complete control over who can call. We have seen about 1,00,000 downloads. We also have about 45,000 businesses that have subscribed to Doosra. Users have identified new use cases. For instance, there is a yoga therapist, who got a Doosra number. The calls are allowed during the day and are blocked after 6 pm. Her number is in the public domain but she has control when people can call her.
We have two plans- six months for Rs 749 and one year one for Rs 999. We will stick to this revenue model as the payment model does not dilute the privacy. We have seen customer data getting leaked from multiple service providers. Doosra is an answer in such cases as calls cannot get through. With so much commerce happening on Whatsapp and other platforms, we see a lot of small businesses getting a Doosra activated for operating e-commerce and virtual stores.
I have been angel investing for some time and will continue to do. I will look to fund some startups through the angel syndicate or venture capital funds and not directly as that will take time. The sectors are web3, blockchain, metaverse, small and medium businesses and fintech.
The startup ecosystem in Hyderabad changed dramatically. Ten years ago, people would have laughed me out of the room if I were to seek funds. There are already some unicorns in the city and more are in the making. Redbus’ acquisition back then was much talked about and was seen as the beginning of a new wave. It is good to have a group of founders from various companies available for support and advice. Emotional volatility of founders is real and having a co-founder and a set of trusted people to discuss professional and personal issues will help. Entrepreneurship is a hard game and one has to be at it for a long.
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