How igniteWorld is driving the mobile-first ecosystem in India
'Digital and Internet technologies can change the status quo and create enormous value for both individuals and businesses'.
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The advent of digital era has made it inevitable for enterprises and individuals alike to adapt themselves to latest technology and help their businesses and lives evolve or perish eventually. With mobile being the catalyst to this technology revolution how should businesses help their products and services turnaround while enabling millions of first time Internet users with personalized offerings at the same time to drive adoption of mobile Internet.
Gurgaon-based mobile-first Internet product company igniteWorld founded in 2012 as a joint venture (JV) between Japan's telecom giant Softbank Corp., Yahoo Japan and India's Bharti Group exploits the power of mobile Internet to bring that change. Entrepreneur India caught up with Madhu Nori, CEO, igniteWorld to put in perspective its mission and vision. Here are the excerpts from the interview.
Why was Bharti SoftBank rebranded as IgniteWorld?
We want to change the status quo as to how enterprises embrace digital and Internet technologies to transform their businesses. Our new brand IgniteWorld reflects the idea that we are the "spark' to enable this transformation, while also impacting the society at large.. Moreover, we want to establish an entity that does not come across as one associated only with its shareholders – Bharti Enterprises, SoftBank, and Yahoo Japan.
How IgniteWorld keeps its entrepreneurial spirit alive?
Adoption to a mobile-first world has challenges from several perspectives. As consumer behavior, including the way content is consumed on mobile, evolves rapidly with growing Internet access, conventional ways of delivering content, creating users experience, and developing payment flows have to be reinvented .These challenges are compounded by a fragmented device ecosystem and product performance in unpredictable network conditions and so on.
We create products to solve several of these problems daily which help in keeping the team motivated and contributing to their learning.
Each team works on solutions in a particular area.. We address problems in mobile media streaming through solutions like Wynk Music, SelfCare and Storefront/Merchandizing solutions for operators and mobile payments.. Each team has 100 percent ownership of their product and key performance indicators.
Are you open to mergers or outright acquisitions of startups in digital space whose product offerings may complement your business goals?
We always seek partnerships to plug holes in our solutions. In solutions where we see a synergistic fit, we make a strategic investment. We are not an investment company but will evaluate a strategic stake in a product/company if we feel that it will enhance the competitiveness of our business.
What new product offerings you are planning to introduce in future?
Over the last couple of years, we created unique product propositions that helped businesses create digital touch points. As we created products, we saw several issues in user-adoption of applications. As we try to further our understanding of user behavior, we will invest more in this space to create technologies and platforms that businesses can use to improve adoption and retention rates of their users.
What's the growth outlook of IgniteWorld for next three-four years?
We aim to increase our customer and user base by at least 10x within the next two years. The problems we are solving today are globally relevant and we are determined to expand our reach beyond India. We will constantly invest in and enhance our product portfolio to help large traditional enterprises create and grow digital businesses.
What piece of advice you have for aspiring entrepreneurs in the digital space?
This is a very exciting time with opportunities to create innovative businesses. Do a thorough research to identify a real and pressing problem to solve and make sure you are addressing a large market. Build rapidly and iteratively, while constantly focusing on your user feedback and letting the idea and product evolve.
How will the future of India's digital industry look like?
Mobile technology is constantly evolving and blurring the international borders more than ever now. It is a level playing field and we need to be wary of every single competitor in our industry from a global perspective. Companies such as Hike and InMobi are great examples of companies effectively exploiting Internet adoption in the country..
(With inputs from Swadha Mishra)