PRODUCT COS CATCH GLOBAL FANCY City-based Bookpad is internet major’s first Indian tech acquisition
Bangalore: Bangalore-based Bookpad has become the first Indian technology startup to be bought by Yahoo, going from creation to acquisition in just one year. The deal comes some eight months after Facebook snapped up Bangalore’s Little Eye Labs.The US internet giant, which is in line to reap about $9.5 billion `57,000 crore) from Alibaba’s ini(.tial public offering, has bought the firm in a deal worth around ` . 50 crore ($8.3 million), say two people with direct knowledge of the development. Yahoo has so far bought over 100 companies.
“The deal is done. The team will be moving to Silicon Valley soon,“ said a person directly familiar with the on-going talks. “Large firms like Autodesk and Dropbox were also eyeing Bookpad.“ Founded by IITGuwahati alumni Niketh Sabbineni, Aditya Bandi and Ashwik Reddy–friends in their early twenties–Bookpad is competing with large companies like Google and Crocodoc in document viewing.
The talks started in May when Sabbineni met Yahoo officials during the InnoTrek trip, organised by industry body Nasscom, to the Silicon Valley in the United States. “In fact, he (Sabbineni) even did not have a visa and he got it at last moment,“ said a person who is privy to the talks. An email query sent to Yahoo remained unanswered while Bookpad founders declined to offer comment about any such deal.
In January, Bangalore-based Little Eye Labs became the first Indian firm to be bought by Facebook. Google India MD and top angel investor Rajan Anandan referred the acquisition of firms like Bookpad and Little Eye Labs as a warm-up exercise towards bigger deals.
“It is day one of the test match. The team has just stepped on the field and is warming up,“ said Anandan. “The game is about to start and it will be an explosively exciting game.“
Anandan said there are already billion-dollar product companies like Zoho and InMobi. And India will create many more billion-dollar product companies and hun `60 dreds will be in the $10 million (.crore) to $100 million (.`600 crore) valuation range. Like Google Docs, Bookpad enables customers create and format text documents online and also collaborate with other people in real time.
But what differentiates the firm from global competitors is that it allows enterprises to modify the product as per their needs and promote their brand. “It (Bookpad) is like a baby born to us. We have been nurturing them. They have technology, talent and traction,“ said Ravi Gururaj, chairman of the Nasscom Product Council, which mentored and incubated the fledgling venture through its 10,000 Startups initiative and startup warehouse facility.
“This acquisition validates that large companies are willing to do a deal, when the technology is useful for them,“ said Nasscom senior manager Ashok Madaravally who has closely worked with Bookpad team from beginning.
Bookpad, which has a team of eight, earns revenue of around `. 1 crore per annum and is fo cused on the US mar ket. “Getting ac quired by Yahoo puts Bangalore on the global startup map,“ said Karnata ka state’s secretary for information technology and biotechnology, Srivatsa Krishna. “We will do everything it makes to match Silicon Valley and become the world’s favourite startup hub.“
Gururaj of Nasscom said Yahoo has a reputation of a voracious appetite for startups.
“And now with Alibaba’s cash warchest, we hope there are going to be more deals like Bookpad,“ said Gururaj. Unlike a typical startup in India which has to face issues such as mentoring and funding, Bookpad’s received nurturing from the beginning.
While working at technology firms Amazon and Symantec, Sabbineni and Bandi would spend five hours every alternate day at Café Coffee Day in Hyderabad building the prototype.
Last year the founders quit their jobs to launch Bookpad with the money they had saved.
The firm shifted to Bangalore, after it got selected for the Startup Warehouse programme, a co-working space provided by Nasscom and Karnataka government. Bookpad was in the first batch of the startups in the warehouse.
Bookpad pivoted its business model by focusing on enterprises rather than consumers. It bagged customers ranging from e-Learning firms to cloud storage companies. Last October when Bookpad made a pitch at the Nasscom product conclave, the Microsoft Ventures director Ravi Narayan got impressed and selected them for the company’s accelerator programme.