Twitter Said to Pay $30 Million for India Startup ZipDialSarah Frier and Bianca Vázquez Toness
Twitter Inc. said it would acquire ZipDial Mobile Solutions Pvt., an Indian marketing company, to improve its ability to reach mobile phones in emerging markets.
ZipDial’s technology, which Procter & Gamble Co. and Walt Disney Co. have used to market products, would help Twitter deliver content to mobile phones, the San Francisco-based company said. Twitter agreed to pay about $30 million for ZipDial, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the matter was private. Natalie Miyake, a Twitter spokeswoman, declined to comment on the price.
Twitter’s ZipDial purchase comes amid increased interest among foreign technology companies in India, where the number of Internet users is projected to more than double from June to 500 million by 2018, according to the Mobile Association of India and Boston Consulting Group. The South Asian nation’s economy is forecast to expand by 6.5 percent in the year ending March 2017, the International Monetary Fund said today.
“Twitter has struggled with not only growing user base in the past year, but also with engaging with their existing user base,” Neha Dharia, a Bengaluru-based analyst for Ovum Plc, said by e-mail. “If used effectively, ZipDial could help them in growing their active-user numbers.”
ZipDial lets brands or publishers connect with mobile phone users who call a toll-fee number to take part in contests, giveaways and other marketing efforts, according to the company’s website. The call automatically disconnects after one ring. The participants then begin receiving messages from the brand, updating them on their progress and notifying them about new offers.
The technology is “especially appealing in areas where people aren’t always connected to data or only access data through intermittent Wi-Fi networks,” Twitter said in a blog post. The deal will also give Twitter an engineering office in Bengaluru, the city formerly known as Bangalore, where ZipDial is based, the company said.