Exactly two years ago, IIT graduate Saurabh Bhatia received a call that changed his life. It was two of his fellow alumni, Chhavi Upadhyay and Srikanth Kakani, calling from Stanford, the US. Upadhyay and Kakani had just won a coveted award for their business plan.
The idea was to create a video ad network and monetise the same. Thus, they decided that through a wide range of innovative advertising options, they would help content providers generate revenue and increase their Return on Investment (RoI). And, Vdopia was formed.
“At the time, lots of media companies were putting videos online and people were hooked on to it. But none of these media houses knew how to monetise it,” says Bhatia, Vdopia’s Chief Business Officer (Global) & Managing Director (India). Quick on the uptake, Bhatia called up media houses, including TV18 and NDTV. The reaction he got was more-than-favourable. “These companies thought the technology was cool and agreed to integrate with us if we got them ads and that’s how our little journey began,” explains Bhatia.
But even a noteworthy business plan comes with its fair share of challenges. Bhatia and crew were no exception. “One of our biggest challenges was to get media firms to work with a start-up such as ours,” he says. Overcoming that was not the end of it though. “Bringing advertisers on board was equally challenging. In fact, I myself had to run around for ads,” he adds.
The move, it seems, paid off and Vdopia landed two plum clients in their kitty — Shaadi.com and Idea Cellular. Following that, some of the biggest brands, including Airtel, Coca Cola and Virgin, partnered with the video ad network company. What’s more, the firm now has a decent-size sales team.
Last but not the least, the company was faced with the issue of funding. Luckily for the firm, Nexus Capital decided to step in. As a result, Vdopia became a commercially operative firm in April 2008, making their very first million seven months later. Today, Bhatia proudly boasts that his company is growing at an enviable rate of 125 per cent quarter-on-quarter. In a recent report, Ernst and Young said the video monetising ad network market was growing at a rate of 300 per cent. “And many industry insiders attribute this growth to us,” claims Bhatia, adding that the firm accounts for 80 per cent of the market.
One of the company’s biggest achievements is the launch of iVdopia, an iPhone ad platform, in the US last month. The start-up is now the first company to venture into the smartphone ad market, targeting iPhone users.
Vdopia has arrived and how.