Posts filed under mobile vas – convergence calling?

Written by: Abhinav

On Mar 30th, 2008

We spoke to Yusuf Motiwala from recently. The conversation covered various aspects including the technology involved, the revenue model, funding and staffing.

iLeher: How did TringMe come about?
Yusuf: We were looking to build a Voice 2.0 platform. This was the TringSwitch that we were planning to push to enterprises so that they could support all types of voice terminations – SIP, Mobiles, VoIP, IM (Jabber), etc. When we built this, we came up with TringMe as a way to demonstrate this platform that we had built and thats how TringMe came about. Then we got covered by TechCrunch and the site took off

iLeher: So how many users do you have now?
Yusuf: 60,000+ plus.

iLeher: Cool!
Yusuf: Yes, we are already generating revenues as well. A lot of these users pay to use the site.

iLeher: That brings us to our next question. Whats the revenue model that you are envisioning? Mostly the Skype-like Call In/Out kind of model?
Yusuf: Not at all. Like I already mentioned, we built a platform that we could sell to enterprises. That remains a revenue model we are going after.

iLeher: So you basically install the boxes in enterprise networks?
Yusuf: Not necessarily. We are also looking at Hosted Services where the enterprise need not spend extra on installing the box. We can take care of the back-end for them. In addition to this, we are looking at licensing our technology to different websites where a real-time interaction between different parties makes sense.

iLeher: Such as?
Yusuf: Dating, travel, reservations (for hotels, travel, etc). There are lots of areas one can think of.

iLeher: Alright. Any other revenue model?
Yusuf: Yes, we are also looking at partnering with developers who have ideas and are looking to build on top of this platform. We will provide them with SDKs which they can use to build their apps.

iLeher: So do you charge them for it?
Yusuf: Depends on the company. We could do a cash deal or take equity. Depends. We absolutely reserve the right to partner in these cases. We will evaluate the company and only then partner with them. Having said that, if we believe in the company, we will see how we can work with them.

iLeher: So what is next on the horizon as far as TringMe is concerned?
Yusuf: We have just announced a mobile solution for low cost handsets. You can check out the announcement on the blog. Our blog has a lot of information about our various offerings- what all we support, etc.

iLeher: Yes, coming to that. You support a lot of terminations. What is your team size and how long did you take?
Yusuf: We are about 9 people

iLeher: Thats all?
Yusuf: Yes, we started around May-June last year. I started the company and then slowly the team grew to its current size

iLeher: Thats a lot of work for this short a time and this small a team!
Yusuf: Well, we have a lot of experience in this field and we were able to apply it to get things working.

iLeher: How about money?
Yusuf: We are self-financed at the moment. Friends and family besides our own money.

iLeher: So are you planning to bootstrap your way to an IPO?
Yusuf: We will go in for a round of VC funding at some stage. We will let you know as and when that happens. ūüėČ

iLeher: Thanks a lot for talking to us
Yusuf: My pleasure!

We spoke to a Yusuf about a few other things which are already covered on the TringMe blog. Please hop over after leaving your comments here.

We wish TringMe all the very best for the future.

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iTasveer+Vista=Ease of access. (online photo site)+Reliance=disruptive?

Written by: Madhur

On Mar 1st, 2007

iTasveer is in news as they recently announced a deal with Microsoft. If you have Vista, you can order photos right from Windows explorer, without needing to visit any website at all. Pretty neat. They also announced Doodlepad, a new feature with which you can custom design your own tshirts/mugs and order them online. Good to see some innovation in this space. Clearly, these features make them stand apart from others in this crowded space. However, digital camera + decent Internet access + Windows Vista is not a combination that is prevalent at least today in India, so it will be a little while before they start reaping real benefits from this. (esp. with all the steps Microsoft is taking to prevent piracy in Vista).

Obviously (its hard to not imagine mobile while speculating the next disruptive innovation in the Indian context), the next question is – will we see someone striking a similar partnership with Airtel, Reliance or some other mobile network? So that people can just click with their high res mobile phone cameras (or click with their standalone camera and transfer to mobile) and order prints from mobile directly. We are starting to see such services coming on mobile. For e.g. recently Reliance announced a deal with, stating that you can search for job listings with login from your Reliance mobile phone. Interestingly, the news also mentions in the end that they are looking for “other such content providers”. I do understand that ordering prints type service is more difficult than information fetch (news, email, search) type of applications because of transaction processing and large data transfers involved, but it will surely happen some time. The question is when?

Thoughts? Am I too much ahead of times to think of it at this point? Maybe our friends from iTasveer, MeraSnap, Picsquare can shed some light here. Are they thinking of any mobile angle at all?

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SMS backup and storage

Written by: Vivek Garg

On Jan 28th, 2007

We have discussed many times why mobile is an important channel and exploding.  This IAMAI report about mobile VAS estimates the mobile VAS industry at Rs 2850 crores at the end of 2006 and is estimated to grow at 60% to touch Rs. 4560 crores at the end of 2007. Here is the split:


40% of this huge industry is the SMS we are sending to our friends and family every day. This got me thinking about the information present in each SMS. Given high churn rate of SMS, it seems like the information present is temporal and it is probably worthless once read, but personally I have found myself in situations where I regret deleting one.  What if we give an ability to store all your SMS automatically? Nothing ever gets deleted. Just like your email. What is involved in offering such a service that could be tremendously useful?  I found yahoo, aircel and handygo services in India that allow you to backup your SMS.

Yahoo service is one of the most well known and it has following rates. These SMS show up in your yahoo mail storage and will never get deleted.

Airtel, Hutch, Idea, Aircel, Spice, RIM – Rs. 3
BPL, Tata – Rs. 2
MTNL, BSNL – Rs. 1

These rates would cost me a fortune if I decided to backup every SMS I get that I do not know if I need it in future. I would rather send myself an email message with the short text contents incase I want to store my password, someone’s phone number, some account number etc.

What should happen if this service needs to succeed?

– Service should be dirt cheap, almost free. This needs innovation at multiple levels.
– Service should be transparent to the end user. Something like automatic backup at the gateway. Just like an email server.
– once stored, these messages should be easily browsable, searchable, taggable and shareable (fwd, download etc).

How do you make money from such a service?

– One time VAS – may be fixed cost.
– Free if you let advertisers look at your SMS to send you relevant SMS ads.
– SMS can be shared, tagged and searched by a social community around it that is looking for that joke that you got yesterday. This site can generate revenue, in turn subsidizing the cost of the backup service.

High barrier to entry? 

All of this sounds really nice and one could set up interesting views on SMS data but the barrier to entry in this business is extremely high. Tie up costs with technology enablers and short code providers can be staggering. IAMAI research shows that most operators also ask for deposit of Rs 2 million and a minimum guaranteed volume of half a million SMS per month. Experts can tell me if there are ways to circumvent these costs.

Let me know what would you do if you want to enable a social networking portal around millions of short text messages?

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