How ZatSe plans to take on JustDial in its home turf [Interview with Ashima Munjal]

Ashima Munjal, MD, Majestic IT Services

Ashima Munjal, the 30 year old Managing Director of Majestic IT services limited has taken on a tough challenge. In the coming days, ZatSe, the company’s flagship brand is going to take on a larger rival in its home turf. Two year old ZatSe is planning to launch in Mumbai and nine other cities where its rivals have already established a strong footing.  ZatSe, the local information and solutions provider, is in the same business as JustDial– the Rs 260 cr (FY11-12) company gearing up for an IPO.

Born into the Munjal family, which founded one of the country’s largest auto businesses (Hero Majestic group), Ashmi Munjal is full of enterprise. The computer science graduate returned to India in 2006 to discover that the land of opportunity was India and not America any more. “The airport was being built, the metro was being built, the chaos..and I felt that this is where the opportunities are and not in America,” she said. In 2010 July, the Munjal family realigned its business and all of the groups holdings (nearly 20 companies including Hero Motors) were distributed amongst families of the four Munjal brothers.  ZatSe was launched in August, 2010. Read more about how Ashmi Munjal plans to take on competition:

What are your immediate plans for Zatse?

We’d like to grow the existing business by focusing in 2-3 things we care about. On the web, we are the fastest search for local search. We have a good set of database for Delhi and we have begun testing around Mumbai which is our next big destination. We would like to go to nine other cities. We are the only ones who have managed to build substantial call volume. We spent around two years tweaking our products. Since our launch, two years ago, One million people who have called up in Delhi. We are a small drop in a large ocean but growing. We will take the same service to Mumbai. Our focus on Movies and events will help us there. Basic strategy is to be very fast on the net and be calm and patient on the phone. We have neighbourhood centric information and are hyper local.

How long before you launch in Mumbai?

We will be launching by early next year. Before the financial closure.

What will be your strategy there? Because its JustDial’s turf.

We are hoping to repeat our strategy in Dehli. We will focus on the Internet users. In Mumbai, we are already web enabled and are getting a small number of calls. It helps us understand what users are calling for. Movies as a category will help us a lot there. For example, when a new movie releases, people will call up and ask where its playing and how to buy tickets etc. We will bank on our quality of service and comfort. One of the disadvantage our competition has is that they are in a big hurry to hang up on people who call.

But isn’t that necessary to keep the calls short to deal with large number of calls?

Its really not that much. We may be adding 10 seconds to our call. It may be a scale issue. But we got feedback from people that they really need that extra 10 seconds to know what they are looking for.

Expansion would require funds, how would you go about it?

We are looking for Delhi to sustain itself with internal accruals. So far we have investment from Majestic Auto Limited. We are a wholly owned subsidiary of Majestic Auto Limited.

How much? Are you in talks with any investors?

So far we have relied on the investment from Majestic auto. We should be looking for investments because its the thing to do in our industry. But so far the business we are building is that which throws back cash. Which is why we have been working with customers who pay already. Currently the plan is to focus on that. If we get investors who can add value, then we will talk to them. But recent investor climate has also been difficult.

What has been your growth like? Can you share revenue targets?

We can’t share exact revenues but between last year and this year our revenues multiplied 6 times, and this year to next year by 4 tims by the time we go to Mumbai. We are targeting a break even by this financial year.

What kind of traction have you generated so far? Can you elaborate?

When you start out in this business, how do you generate your first set of traffic is important. We launched during the Common Wealth Games and we had information about every thing from parking to ticketing. That was our first customer base that we built up. We ran a hoarding campaign in Delhi and worked closely with our media partners too. We also rely heavily on Google to send us traffic. we will get our second million in less than a third of that time.

Do you intent do open up more revenue streams, like building apps or selling data like some of your competitors are doing?

Right now, we are focused on direct interaction with the customer. I don’t want to sell the user data so that people can spam them. We don’t spam our customers. That is the mood in the nation. If you see the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s guidelines, we dont want spam. The general tendency is to get irritated when that happens.

Recommended read: JustDial files for an IPO. But Why?

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