Indo US Venture Partners and Qualcomm Incorporated, acting through its venture capital investment arm, Qualcomm Ventures, invest Rs180mn in the Series “A” Round, into Onward Mobility, a mobile application and distribution company based out of Mumbai.
The Company had raised over $ 1mn in two rounds last year from the Mumbai Angels, India's leading group of angel investors, who were given a partial exit in this round. The company plans to utilise these funds to expand their product offering, Retail Distribution reach and for hiring key employees.
Consort Capital , a premier Mumbai-based investment bank were the sole advisors to the Company. Vani Kola from Indo US Venture Partners and Rajiv Dadlani from the Mumbai Angels are the investor Directors on the Board of the Company and Karthee Madasamy from Qualcomm Ventures will be taking the observer seat.
The Company has a unique model of selling and distributing their own and third party products through retail counters across India. Their products under the brand name MOBIÔ, like MobiCop™, MobiRecord™, MobiSecret, among others, are already present in eight states and are rapidly expanding their presence across India. Onward Mobility also has already entered into strategic partnerships with many content publishers and intends to roll out their partner’s products like games, entertainment, music, education and other content through their unique offline distribution channel in the next few months.
Mr. Arun Menon CEO of Onward Mobility said, "We are extremely happy to have Indo US Venture Partners and Qualcomm as our investment partners. Their investment is a true endorsement of the Company’s product vision, distribution capability, execution talents, and the market potential. Their strategic inputs and value adds in terms of their extensive network of key relationships, have already started benefiting our Company, and has helped in enhancing value. They have a fine understanding of mobile, technology, retail and other verticals having already made several investments. I am confident that their huge experience will be a tremendous fillip for our team."
“We’re much better off selling mobile apps offline,” says Ajay Menon, Director of Onward Mobility, because all online App Stores are too cluttered, thus apps don’t get sufficient visibility, causing the discovery problem to consumers. Further, especially in India, not many consumers buy apps through Credit Cards payments. With our Offline Retail Distribution model, consumers do not require credit cards nor GPRS connectivity.
Commenting on the occasion, Vani Kola, Managing Partner, Indo US Venture Partners said “This Offline Retail Distribution model solves most of the pain points and gaps that currently exist in the other online and telco/operator distribution models like Payment (very low balances prevailing on pre-paid), Discovery (getting lost among over 200,000 apps on App Stores), Support (only email/chat is existing, whereas Onward has a dedicated call-centre with toll-free number) and many others. In the Onward team, we’ve truly noticed a spirit of action, technology focus, and a creative cheer that we feel are the special ingredients for success.
“Qualcomm has made a strategic investment in OnwardMobility, in keeping with our objective to support the growth of 3G applications and services ecosystem,” said, Karthee Madasamy, Senior Director of India Investments for Qualcomm Ventures. “We believe that OnwardMobility’s innovative business model has the potential to impact the wireless value chain in addition to a distinct competitive advantage that is led by a passionate team.”
Rajiv Dadlani, from the Mumbai Angels, said "Onward Mobility has a superior and unique offline, direct to consumer, distribution model which is definitely much more suited to the Indian Market, as compared to the other existing current distribution models, which are mostly online or through the telcos/operators. Moreover, with more than 200 Million mobile phones being sold every year in India, the Company’s potential to scale very rapidly is tremendous”.
The Mobile Applications market in particular is expected to grow to $25 Billion by 2013 as per Juniper Research. The overall market for Mobility software and applications in Asia-Pacific alone is expected to grow at a CAGR of 35 % from 2011 to 2015. This presents a huge opportunity for Onward Mobility as it is the only company in India with a direct to consumer business model of retailing mobile applications as against most other mobile applications companies which are looking at selling their products through online channels like applications stores.