Last month, digital marketing firm Brightcom announced its acquisition of Media Mint (Vuchi Media) in a deal worth over Rs 560 crore. Media Mint founder Aditya Vuchi, a serial entrepreneur, says Telangana today About what has been clicked, the city’s startup ecosystem and its plans to support startups through owners’ unions and venture capital funds.
We started the company 11 years ago. This was the time when we realized that a lot of spending was shifting from traditional advertising to digital advertising. Before that, I worked for an online advertising company in California between 2005 and 2010. Later, I left that and started Media Mint with co-founder Neelima in Hyderabad. There was a talent shortage globally from people who understood how to run campaigns on ad platforms. Media Mint has been in business for 11 years, and last December it was acquired by Brightcom. What started with two people has grown into more than 1,300 companies. We never raise any capital from outside sources.
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Some of our young customers have grown up with us. This in turn gave us business. We noticed that the scale brings credibility. If you are too young, not many people will want to work with you. We nearly doubled our workforce last year from around 700 to more than 1,300 people. The growth is due to consumers spending too much time on their screens due to Covid. It’s normal for brands to spend more of their advertising budgets on digital media.
Another startup is Doosra, an alternative sim-free mobile number that tries to solve privacy issues. It’s exactly the opposite scenario for normal mobile phone calls. If I have your usual number, I can call you. You can decide to ban then. But in Doosra, all calls are blocked by default. If the number is added as a trusted contact, only then will the call appear.
Mobile numbers are dialed in malls, supermarkets, restaurants, buildings and more. You can give Doosra everywhere but still have complete control over who can connect. We have seen about 1,00,000 downloads. We also have about 45,000 companies that have signed up for Dostra. Users have identified new use cases. For example, there’s a yoga therapist who’s got Dosara’s number. Calls are allowed during the day and are blocked after 6 pm. Her number is in the public domain but she controls when people can contact her.
We have two plans – six months for 749 rupees and one year for 999 rupees. We will stick to this revenue model because the payment model does not impair privacy. We have seen customer data leakage from many service providers. Doosra is an answer in such cases where calls cannot reach. With so much commerce happening on Whatsapp and other platforms, we are seeing a lot of small businesses getting Doosra active to run their e-commerce and virtual stores.
I have been an angel investor for quite some time and will continue to do so. I will be looking to fund some of the startups through owners association or venture capital funds and not directly because that will take time. The sectors are web3, blockchain, metaverse, SMEs, and Fintech.
The startup ecosystem in Hyderabad has changed dramatically. Ten years ago, people would laugh at me if I wanted to get financing. There are already some unicorns in town and more is in the making. There was a lot of talk about the Redbus acquisition at the time, and it was seen as the start of a new wave. It is a good thing to have a group of founders from various companies available for support and advice. The emotional volatility of founders is real and having a founding partner and a group of trusted people to discuss professional and personal issues will help. Entrepreneurship is a difficult game and one has to play it for a long time.
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