Maurice-Levy-led Publicis Groupe has launched its digital agency Razorfish in India. Anticipated for a while now, Razorfish's entry follows acquisition of a local company called Neev, which is based in Bangalore and is a provider of software solutions. Neev will be branded as Razorfish Neev and will be led by Saurabh Chandra, its erstwhile CEO. Besides Bangalore, Razorfish Neev will have offices in Mumbai and Delhi, Chandra said in a conversation to announce the new launch. The acquisition of Neev will be Publicis Groupe's fourth in the digital space in one year. A little over a month ago, the Paris-headquartered group bought Mumbai-based digital agency Convonix and last year made three quick acquisitions in iStrat, Resultrix and Indigo Consulting. These acquisitions were aligned with Publicis's creative and media agencies to improve their digital offering. For instance, Convonix was bunched with media agency StarcomMediaVest, iStrat with ad agency Publicis Worldwide, Resultrix with ZenithOptimedia and Indigo Consulting with Leo Burnett. Razorfish, on the other hand, will be a standalone unit like Digitas, which is one more digital agency of the Publicis Groupe that has been operating in India since 2010.
Both Digitas and Razorfish in India will be headed by Kanika Mathur, who will be designated as managing director of the two entities. Publicis Groupe's chief operating officer Jean-Yves Naouri in a conversation with Business Standardearlier had said there was a possibility that India could operate as a hub for the group's digital activities in the Asian region. He declined to give specific details about it. But Publicis has already converted VivaKi, which was the unit under which the group had earlier bunched all its media and digital agencies as well as media buying offering VivaKi Exchange, into a special vehicle that will drive digital growth for all the group's agencies in the country. Srikant Sastri, VivaKi Country Chair for India explains, "VivaKi will continue to do media buying under VivaKi Exchange, but the media agencies ZenithOptimedia and StarcomMediaVest will be standalone entities with their own profit & loss statements. The same goes for Razorfish Neev and Digitas India that will operate on their own. The new mandate though will see VivaKi look at partnerships and tie-ups with start-ups to access their technology that can be utilised by group agencies. This will be called VivaKi Ventures. Besides, VivaKi will also have proprietary digital tools that can be utilised by group agencies to improve their offerings in the space."