Internet is penetrating the society with its application on almost every device. According to a report published by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), in October 2015 there were 375 million users of internet in India. Currently, India has the third largest internet user base in the word but it is estimated that by December 2017, India will overtake the US as the second largest Internet users’ base in the world. India is the second largest internet user base in the world behind China, but is ranked first as the largest internet users in a free market democratic setup. Not only this, but the mobile internet base has grown by 65% from last year.
The motive to elaborate the above facts was, people might have smartphones with a great internet connectivity but majority are not able to use better of the available broadband speed because of the price tag that comes with it. Almost every app on a smartphone consumes data, be it an eCommerce platform, a game or anything that requires or supports a multi-user function. What if the apps we use offered free data? Free data for using them, as if it was an offline affair.
To give this function a much needed kickstart in the country, ‘Reverse Data’ came into being. The inception of this app was done by Adstuck Consulting Pvt Ltd., a company founded by Abhishek Shankar and Kundan Kumar in 2012. Abhishek is an IIT Madras alumnus and is known for his Kickstarter campaign ‘Teach India’, which was done to impart education to the unprivileged society in rural areas of the country. While Kundan is an FMS alumni and has an experience over six years in Marketing & Sales.
An Offline Affair
Everytime a user uses a platform like Amazon or Flipkart, a certain amount of data is consumed and this app returns the burned data through a recharge. When asked about the same, Shalvi Singh, Lead Analyst at the company stated that they’re looking for partnership with the telcos so as to make it more convenient for the user to get the burned data rather make the app free to use. As the company is has many apps for now due to the campaigns, Shalvi said that they want to consolidate every app in their flagship app ‘Mojo’. “For each campaign the company started one app to focus on one conversion matrix, like for CPI,CPS & CPR.”
Shalvi further added “We’re not only helping users to get through the data mesh but also helping brands build their user base. Brands are basically spending Rs 30-35 per user, but here customer acquisition doesn’t only mean installation of the app but consumption of the content inside it. If the user wants to get more data he’ll spend more time on the app.”
The biggest problem in India is the connectivity, majority of the people using internet on mobile phones choose ‘pay as you go’ scheme. To make data more convenient and cash on the similar problem Airtel and Facebook wanted to bridge the gap through Internet.org and Airtel Zero. Now why was this rejected? Because it’s creating an unfair monopoly of some over others. Let’s just say if Airtel is offering to not charge when a user uses Flipkart, Airtel users just won’t go to Snapdeal because it’s not free like Flipkart. It’s a different debate in the US over Net Neutrality (a debate over speed control), in India it’s least of a common man’s priority. People here use wikipedia for information, connect to friends on Facebook and watch videos on YouTube.
The company wants to tie up with the telco’s and act as an agent in between because if telcos directly partner up with platforms it would have been illegal under “Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016”. With a filter of a company in between, this stop’s the ‘Monopoly Structure’.
Monetisation & Traction
The company claims to be monetising on the user acquisition cost. It has already tied up with companies like Flipkart, Amazon India, PayTM, Cleartrip etc and has over 200 partners. “So the common rate of acquiring a customer is Rs 30-35, and we use Rs 10 out of it to give back to the user through the data,” said Shalvi.
She also claimed the product to be profitable and how wouldn’t it be, it’s changing the discourse the way people consume internet. The company claims to acquire 15,000-20,000 customers everyday, with a MAU of 2.5 million. They further added, “We generate monthly revenues of Rs 50 lakh with 70% of profit.”
Competition and Funding
The company is currently being bootstrapped but is looking to raise a serious amount in the coming days. Shalvi confirmed that the founders are in talks with a few investors and will soon come up with the good news.
Adstuck faces some serious competition from mcent, a US based firm doing the same thing but mSend has also tied up with telcos to make the return easier. There’s no player in the Indian market doing the same, but companies will soon emerge because this will change the discourse of mobile internet. Recently mcent raised $57 million in Series C led by Verizon Ventures.
Other Products by the Company
“We built Alive, an Augmented Reality App in JV with the Times Internet Group which was later acquired by the TOI in 2013. Our Product FitYour which is India’s first virtual fitting room of its kind won accolades from Mahindra Group for its advanced technology back in 2012. Our AR solution in the name of AREAL provides end to end solution and brings life to static content ( print and digital) for brands.”