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The mobile entertainer

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Nitish Mittersain, founder of Nazara Technologies, is among the few entrepreneurs who have remained unflappable in the current economic crisis.

Having set up Nazara, a mobile entertainment company, right at the time of the dotcom bust, claims to have sufficient experience to withstand this financial downturn too. “Two things I have learnt from my early days: Don’t get carried away by hype and never burn money. So, we always focus on our bottom line,” says the 29-year-old CEO.

Therefore, Nazara has not only kept its team to the minimum required size, it has also kept itself agile by outsourcing some of the internal processes to further save costs. Detailing the rationale behind the company’s outsourcing strategy, Mittersain says: “We have outsourced our product testing requirements. While it might not save us a lot of money, it has saved us time, thereby giving us flexibility, which is very important for a start-up.”

Although Mittersain set up shop in 2000, it was only three years later that the wireless and content market began to emerge. “Last year, we witnessed a growth of 100 per cent and are expecting a similar growth rate this year too,” he adds.

Nazara’s revenues are in the region of Rs 30 crore and are expected to touch the Rs 100 crore-mark by 2012.

Launched by this young entrepreneur while still in college, Nazara started off as a gaming firm. But soon it assumed the role of a content provider and strove to be a differentiator among the growing mass of mobile content and application developers. Today, Nazara clocks a download rate of about 40,000-50,000 applications every day.

Also, Nazara’s strategy of entering into exclusive tie-ups with different brands has helped the company carve a niche for itself in the value-added services market. For instance, it is the only firm that has exclusive tie-ups with cricketers such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and M S Dhoni for developing personality-based applications. Among other international brands, the company has tie-ups with Archie Comics. Besides, Nazara is also developing applications for Google’s mobile operating system Android and Apple’s iPhone. “Taking our mobile applications developed on Android and iPhone platforms to an international audience is what is keeping us on our toes,” says Mittersain.

Having raised Rs 20 crore from Sequoia Capital during its first round of funding in 2005, Mittersain reflects: “I think what sets us apart is our relationship with telecom operators that was built painstakingly during our initial days.”

For now, Mittersain has his eye firmly on the domestic market that boasts about half-a-billion mobile users.

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