We had covered the news of Softbank and Bharti coming up with a JV – which Kavin later clarified in the comments is not a fund. At that time the website had precious little in terms of information – so we didnt know what the whole deal was about.
To start off, the BIG small statement that we hearted was “Who we are – A startup“. It is not every day that you see a setup with 200M $ behind them try to position as a startup and work grounds up to change the mobile ecosystem in India. While it is still not clear what are the products that are going to come out of their stable, we can make a few intelligent guesses.
Their website mentions –
“We believe India is where the US was in 1997 or where China was in 2003 and there are multiple, phenomenal opportunities for start-ups to emerge and build great services across the spectrum in both enterprise and consumer segments. At BSB, we’re tackling the latter and are focusing on three key areas: Social Media, Gaming, e-Commerce.”
This is a very loaded statement coming from Bharti considering their various presences where they can influence users. Considering their background, we guess they would be looking at building carrier and OS agnostic mobile solutions in each of these segments above. Carrier agnostic is obvious – although as you can guess, airtel would mostly help push some of their stable products. However it would be good to go a totally agnostic, appstore / website route to ensure the other carriers don’t block / discourage users. We also think they will look at some on-deck applications in tie-ups with players like Micromax considering their huge clout in the space (and Softbank backing).
Their Jobs section indicates that they are looking at a Mobile apps approach. This should be good news for some of the startups amongst our readers (we have heard that they are in talks to acquire one of the companies that presented at UnPluggd). It would be interesting to see if they take an approach to acquire companies or build some of these products themselves – although we think a hybrid approach (acquire and then build on top) would be the best way to go.
BSB’s first venture
They have started in the Ecommerce space with http://www.musstbuy.com/ (still in stealth mode). Although it is not very differentiated from others, after www.pepperfry.com, we keep most of our comments reserved.
Lastly, we at PI were very impressed when Kavin got back to us in the last post about an UI glitch. Those are the small things that make the difference between a good company and a great one – and here it seems Bharti’s heart is in the right place.
What do you think – where is such an approach headed?