500 Startups invests under $500K in Bangalore-based ZipDial; closes 10th deal in India


Bangalore-based mobile marketing and communications startup ZipDial Mobile Solutions Pvt Ltd has raised under $500,000 from Silicon Valley-based incubator-cum-seed fund 500 Startups. The funding will be primarily used to scale up the company's operations and ensure its global expansion.

Commenting on the development, Valerie R Wagoner, founder and CEO of ZipDial, said, "500 Startups has repeatedly added value to startups through its global network of mentors, thus helping their portfolio companies grow. Working with the fund is strategic for ZipDial as we invest in our expansion into other emerging markets."

As part of its global expansion plan, the company will first launch its operations in Bangladesh in January 2013. Valerie also added that Indonesia, the Philippines and Nigeria are other key markets from a strategic perspective.


In April 2011, the startup raised Rs 3.5 crore, led by Mumbai Angels. That maiden round also saw participation from Blume Ventures and the partners at AngelPrime who invested in their personal capacity.

ZipDial was set up in 2010 by Valerie (CEO), Sanjay Swamy (chairman) and Amiya Pathak (COO). The startup offers a marketing communication tool based on the 'missed call' concept. Simply put, a user can give the company a missed call and ZipDial registers the number, which is then used by its clients to get access to mobile users who have expressed interest in their products/services. ZipDial clients leverage these numbers for sending promotional messages or information.

As of now, the company has around 400 paid customers (up from 250 six months ago) including brands such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Cadbury, Disney, MakeMyTrip and Café Coffee Day, among others. According to the company, its 'tool' increases advertisement response rates by 2-50 times while the viral nature of its application increases the reach of campaigns by 30-75 per cent.


"The level of consumer engagement and viral impact on campaigns for both global brands and SME advertisers is unprecedented, with every ZipDial customer having at least double the number of users engaging via ZipDial on Facebook or Twitter," said Paul Singh, partner at 500 Startups.

Earlier, in an exclusive interview with Techcircle.in, Valerie had hinted about the company's plans to raise funds. At that time, she said, "We will be looking at funding unless we are doing so well that we don't need to. But generally speaking, yes." She also mentioned that the company was targeting 5x rise in revenues and planning to break even by year-end.


"We are on track to achieve our target of 5x rise in revenues. But as far as breaking even goes, it's an option. Right now, we want to scale up," said Valerie.

500 Startups is a US venture fund based in Silicon Valley that provides funding to early-stage companies. Recently, Techcircle.in caught up with 500 Startups' top executives Dave McClure and Paul Singh, as well as Pankaj Jain (who is now directly responsible for Indian investments), to know more about their plans for Indian investments. Read here for more on that. Other investments by 500 Startups include Taskrabbit, Wildfire, Twilio, SendGrid, GazeMetrix, iDreamBooks, Instamojo, TradeBriefs and WalletKit.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)


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