Sales and Marketing Software

Indian Startups: ViralMint Piggybacks the eCommerce Revolution

Social Media Marketing company, ViralMint has grown quickly on the back of the surge in Indian eCommerce sites. We catch up with CEO & Founder Rohan Dighe to find out where the company is going next.

“Our initial target was to go global very quickly, within the first seven months of business,” says Rohan Dighe over the phone from Mumbai. “[But] newer ventures kept coming really quickly. Every day we’d have 30 or 40 new eCommerce sites starting up. There were a lot of people taking advantage of the whole eCommerce growth happening in India. [But] we were the only ones who were doing this kind of stuff.”

ViralMint is a Social Media Marketing company that launched at the end of 2011 offering products rather than services. The aim is to replicate offline, word-of-mouth marketing in the online space to help brands gain ROI from social media and drive sales.

“Our idea,” explains Dighe “was to come up with a simple product that customers could put on their website which would get people to spread the word.” For example this could be a “pop up or other experience that shows up on the screen when the customer walks into the online.”  This would then incentivise the customer to spread the word.

“If everyone is doing this it reaches a very high number of people within a very short space of time,” he adds. “Friends trust friends’ recommendations a lot [so it doesn’t take long for the offers to go viral].”

The company received an initial investment from Seedfund and has been expanding ever since. “At the moment we’re exclusively in India,” says Dighe. “The main thing is that we perfect our product locally before going international.  eCommerce in India is a [fast] moving market. We [still] want to capitalise on that.”

Things are changing so quickly that ViralMint doesn’t currently have any exact competitors in the space in India, although there are plenty of other players, such as WebEngage, another promising young startup. In the US, companies like Social Annex  fulfil a similar function, but on the ground ViralMint has the distinct advantage in being local.

“In India people don’t use credit cards for online products,” explains Dighe, “so most of the payment and billing that happens, is offline.  Having a geographical advantage is good for us.”

“The main thing is we are very ROI focused,” Dighe continues. “Initially, for the first couple of months we used a subscription model, but we amended our subscription to be on a performance based metric, so the more you use our product the more you are likely to pay. Companies which are just starting out may not be able to afford a subscription price.”

Dighe believes this flexibility will help the company grow with the Indian market as a large consumer base rushes online, and a slew of websites spring up to service it. After that he feels the same mentality will help the company move into other emerging markets:

“Indonesia is on my mind,” he says. “I’ve mostly been looking at growing economies. [Those companies] want to work with people who have a similar state. It is much easier to grow with them; than to work with companies who [already] have really strong policies and have been doing stuff for a long time.”

“We see a lot of traction in Thailand, Singapore and after that Australia is a major place,” he adds. “One of the main factors for growth, is when you enter a new market not stick to what people are doing globally. If you consider SaaS, everyone will tell you having a monthly subscription is the way to go and that is the only way you can do the billing. But in some local businesses flexibility is better. Adapting to the market really is the crux of the whole thing and that is what has worked in our favour.”

“There is a lot happening in this space and there is a lot of innovation that goes in,” he concludes. “It is a great market at least at this point in time. We are lucky to be here.”


Kathryn Cave is Editor at IDG Connect


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