QUEEN'S ROAD: The past few months have been an exhilarating ride for Bengaluru-based start-up Vavia Technologies. Most recently, Spice Digital, a subsidiary of tech firm Spice Mobility, picked up 26 per cent stake in the start-up to make its offerings available globally.
Vavia was founded by Alan D’Souza and Abhinay Reddy in 2008, when they were still in their third year of engineering. The intention was to build clean and carefully designed web and mobile products. Their very first product was focused on aggregating deals and prices of products from various stores. “However, as products take time before they can start generating revenue, we had started providing web and mobile consulting services to bootstrap the venture,” says D'Souza.
In November 2012, the company launched txtBrowser, an SMS-based search engine. The idea was simple: to provide information available on the Internet over SMS. “txtBrowser converts content that is available on web pages into text form and then sends out this information over SMS. The objective is to provide information access to users who do not have Internet connections on their devices,” explains D'Souza. Over 70 per cent of mobile phone users in India and emerging economies still don’t have Internet access on their devices, and this forms their primary target group.
After receiving an overwhelming response for txtBrowser, Vavia started building products for the growing smartphone industry. One such app was Confess, a social networking space, where users can anonymously share their thoughts and questions, without any fear of being judged. With over 50,000 users using it since its launch, the app has been successful, D'Souza says. Quite similar to another app Secret, Confess likes to differentiate itself by providing certain extra features. “Through Confess, users can also send direct private messages to other users, without revealing their identity. You can also block users you don’t want to see and make groups within the app,” says D'Souza.
Another product the company has been quite popular for is FreePaisa, which focusses on getting smartphone users to discover the right apps and even reward them for it. “An app marketing platform that rewards users for trying and installing new apps that are listed on the platform, it allows advertisers to target the right set of users who would be interested in trying their apps. Also, they get access to a large set of users to get feedback from. FreePaisa charges advertisers on a performance model and hence it’s a win-win for all the parties involved," he says.
The company now plans to further enhance the offerings at FreePaisa and to take the performance based model to other verticals as well.
“We intend to become the largest reward based global advertising platform,” adds D'Souza.