This Hyderabadi entrepreneur takes a road less traveled and gets rich

Last month, digital marketing firm Brightcom announced the acquisition of Media Mint (Vuchi Media) in a deal worth over Rs 560 crore. Media Mint Founder Aditya Vuchi, a Serial Entrepreneur, Recounts Telangana today about what clicked, the city’s startup ecosystem and its plans to support startups through angel syndicates and venture capital funds.

Journey

We created the company 11 years ago. It was then that we realized that a lot of expenses were shifting from traditional advertising to digital advertising. Before that, I worked in an online advertising company in California between 2005 and 2010. Later, I left that and started Media Mint with co-founder Neelima in Hyderabad. There was a shortage of talent in the world, of people knowing how to run campaigns on advertising platforms. Media Mint has been in business for 11 years and last December it was acquired by Brightcom. What started with two people has grown into a business of over 1,300 people. We have never raised capital from external sources.

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Ladder

Some of our little clients have grown up with us. It gave us business. We have noticed that the scale brings credibility. If you are too small, not many people will be willing to work with you. We almost doubled our workforce last year, from about 700 to over 1,300 people. The growth is due to consumers spending so much time on their screens due to Covid. It’s natural for brands to dedicate more of their advertising budgets to the digital medium.

Doosra

The other startup is Doosra, another SIM-less mobile number that tries to resolve privacy concerns. This is exactly the reverse scenario of regular mobile calls. If I have your regular number, I can call you. You can decide to block after that. But in Doosra all calls are blocked by default. If the number is added as a trusted contact, only then the call will go through.

Use case

Mobile numbers are in demand in shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants, buildings and more. You can donate to Doosra anywhere, while maintaining full control over who can call. We saw approximately 1,00,000 downloads. We also have around 45,000 companies that have subscribed to Doosra. Users have identified new use cases. For example, there is a yoga therapist, who has a Doosra number. Calls are allowed during the day and blocked after 6 p.m. Her number is in the public domain, but she controls when people can call her.

We have two plans – six months for Rs 749 and one year for Rs 999. We will stick to this income model as the payment model does not dilute privacy. We have seen customer data leaked from several service providers. Doosra is an answer in cases where calls cannot go through. With so much commerce on Whatsapp and other platforms, we see a lot of small businesses activating a Doosra to operate e-commerce and virtual stores.

Investor

I have been investing angels for some time and will continue to do so. I will be looking to fund some startups through angel syndicate or venture capital funds and not directly as it will take time. The sectors are web3, blockchain, metaverse, small and medium enterprises and fintech.

Ecosystem

The startup ecosystem in Hyderabad has changed dramatically. Ten years ago, people would have laughed at me if I was fundraising. There are already a few unicorns in the city and more are in the works. The acquisition of Redbus at the time caused a lot of talk and was seen as the start of a new wave. It’s good to have a group of founders from various companies available for support and guidance. The emotional volatility of founders is real and having a co-founder and a set of trusted people to discuss professional and personal issues will be helpful. Entrepreneurship is a tough game and it takes a long time.


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