Twitter in talks to partner/acquire start-up ZipDial

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Microblog Twitter could make its first acquisition in India very soon having begun talks with mobile technology services startup ZipDial according to three people with knowledge of the developments.

Technology news portal TechCrunch reported on Tuesday that the American company could pay up to “$30 million – $40 million”, to acquire ZipDial which was founded in 2010 by a team of technology entrepreneurs -Valerie Rozycki Wagoner, Sanjay Swamy and Amiya Pathak.

The Bengaluru company has developed a marketing and analytics platform that links businesses and users through a unique Indian application – the missed call. ZipDial has bagged customers like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestle, who now use this service.

Wagoner and Swamy both denied news of any negotiations with Twitter.

“There is no deal done. I cannot comment on anything,” said Wagoner, a Stanford graduate who is the chief executive officer of ZipDial.

People who briefed ET on the developments said the company has been in talks with Twitter since late December. A second person said the startup is also in talks with two other companies but declined to name them.

Sanjay Swamy, the founder of early stage incubator AngelPrime who is on the board of ZipDial, denied the news, and called them “rumors'”.

ZipDial has partnered with Twitter in the past. In 2013, it entered into a partnership with Twitter India to allow those without the internet or smartphone to follow superstars by giving a missed call to a particular number. Users could later engage with the actor by “tweeting” through SMS. It started with Hindi film actor Shah Rukh Khan after which Amitabh Bachchan also came on board.

Last year Facebook also announced the use of missed calls for generating leads from their ads for customers. The entire service was designed and run by ZipDial.

Experts said the deal, if successful, could be a data play for Twitter, as mobile advertising becomes a big revenue earner for the company. Zipdial brings in user preferences for brands in tier 2 and tier 3 cities where smartphones are yet to make an entry.

In the next five years, industry analysts estimate that at least 40 technology ventures in India could be bought over by large corporations. In January 2014, Facebook acquired tech startup Little Eye Labs and Bangalore-based Bookpad were bought by Yahoo in September.

News Courtesy: Economics Times

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