Twitter announced on Tuesday it has reached an agreement to acquire ZipDial, an Indian company that uses 'missed calls' as a means of connecting brands with the audience. This is Twitter's first acquisition in India. The Bangalore-based company's expertise will be used to make Twitter more accessible around the world, the company said.
The talks between Twitter and ZipDial were in the news since last week, and it was reported that the deal was already closed at between $30 to $40 million (approximately Rs. 185 crore to Rs. 247 crore).
"Over the next several years, billions of people will come online for the first time in countries like Brazil, India and Indonesia," said Christian Oestlien, VP of Product, Twitter in a statement confirming the acquisition, adding, "For many, their first online experience will be on a mobile device - but the cost of data may prevent them from experiencing the true power of the Internet. Twitter, in partnership with ZipDial, can make great content more accessible to everyone."
ZipDial, founded by CEO Valarie R. Wagoner, COO Amiya Pathak and Chairman Sanjay Swamy in 2010, has already worked in collaboration with Twitter before. The firm let users give a missed call on a particular number associated with a celebrity or other Twitter handle in order to receive their tweet alerts via a text message service on the handsets.
Aside from Twitter, ZipDial has carried out similar campaigns with Facebook as well, and has worked with a number of brands for similar engagement. In a blog post confirming the acquisition, ZipDial notes that it has carried out a billion connections across 60 million users.
According to the post, ZipDial will use a combination of SMS, voice calls, and the mobile Web all together to bridge offline and online usage, using its missed call system, so that callers will receive free inbound content, instead of having to use relatively expensive systems like sending SMSes or using mobile data.
"More than half of the world's population live in emerging and newly developed markets, and these consumers use their mobile phones differently," said Valerie Wagoner, Founder and CEO, ZipDial in a statement, adding, "We build for them. ZipDial's innovative platform has already scaled across South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa, where we operate. We are thrilled to expand our impact to a global level with Twitter."
This acquisition will also give Twitter an engineering team in India, as mentioned on the Twitter blog.
Rishi Jaitly, Market Director, India and Southeast Asia, Twitter said in a statement: "We're extremely impressed with what ZipDial has built and are delighted to welcome them to the flock. In India, our primary mission, which is bolstered by this acquisition, is to help every Indian with a mobile device enjoy a great, relevant Twitter experience. We believe Twitter - a platform invented for SMS and rich in media - is a perfect match for India, a mobile-first country with a celebrated media heritage."