Mauj Mobile to raise $30-50 million for appstore play

Adith Charlie Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on April 26, 2015

Mauj Mobile is seeking to raise primary investment of up to $50 million (about ₹300 crore) million as part of its transformation from a mobile value added services (VAS) company to a provider of niche app marketplaces.

Part of the ₹350 crore People Group, Mauj wants additional funding from private equity investors to further expand its three app platforms, namely, Appystore (a curated app site for children up to six years of age), Gamesbond (appstore for gamers) and Mobango (a mobile social networking site it acquired in 2011).

“Later in the year, Mauj will start connecting with private equity investors as we are looking to raise $30-50 million to grow our three platforms. We are also hiring lot of top talent to grow the team. I think 2015-16 will be a big year for us,” said Badri Sanjeevi, Chief Executive Officer of Mauj Mobile.

Switching to content and commerce

Like many of its peers, Mauj had shut its mobile VAS business in 2011. The VAS space had become unviable as Indian telecom operators tightly controlled their subscribers’ VAS revenues.

“Mobile VAS is completely dead. Today, we think of ourselves as a mobile content and commerce company that owns three different appstores for Indians using the Android platform,” Sanjeevi told BusinessLine.

Mauj began its transition from being a VAS company to a mobile content company with its 2011 acquisition of UK-based Mobango, which was then the world’s largest independent mobile application and user generated content store. “After dabbling in the VAS space, we realised that we don’t have a consumer focused business. Hence, it made sense for us to acquire one that had millions of users,” said Sanjeevi. After the acquisition, the Mobango platform was tweaked for the Android-based smartphone market. Along the way, the company added Gamesbond and Appystore.

Mauj is currently funded by Sequoia Capital, Westbridge Capital and Intel Capital. It last raised funds of $10 million in 2006.

Some of the existing investors may exit the company. People Group CEO Anupam Mittal had said in December that private equity investors in and Mauj Mobile are looking to capitalise on the soaring interest in Indian e-commerce to make an exit.

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Published on April 26, 2015
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