“We had so many stories to tell, that we made an IVR out of it.” This is the tagline for Vasonomics’ 1st Indian Consumer VAS offering, StoryBox. Vasonomics is a business around Value Added Services to mobile companies. The company has launched products around the Consumer VAS as a segment right now, that include applications such as StoryBox, ComedyCentral, and SMS Alerts.
“Why I chose VAS is a long story. I have been trying my luck in the international VAS scene since 2006. Having seen successes in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, failures in Australia, Malaysia and few other markets, when I got this opportunity to do something on my own in 2010, VAS seemed to be a logical extension,” says Vikas Dixit, Founder, Vasonomics.
Vasonomics was launched in December 2010, when Vikas managed to acquire the first order. As he had spent substantial years in building up the African VAS space, his motivation for Vasonomics was to be able to express himself in terms of business and products and contribute to the VAS space in Africa. They are a team of 29 people in 2 time zones right now. Around 20 employees are in India office which is a “war room” and Operations center for 3 Operator customers in Nigeria; mix of industry and non industry professionals, and around 7 employees are in Nigeria. 40% of the employees are from the VAS industry and 60% from non-industry.
Their first product, StoryBox, has been a success and has been accepted across all major West African operators. It’s basically a digital/mobile avatar of a Story teller where s lot of content produced by Vasonomics and other providers is hosted. As soon as a user calls on a short-code 5050 on Globacom Nigeria and 5940 on Etisalat Nigeria, they get the access to the IVR and are served with wholesome ‘family consumption quality content’. They are also developing some more products around a combination of in-house and proprietary content, with a specific focus on consumer VAS for the International and African markets.
They are currently utilizing multiple avenues of promotion and marketing such as promotion via SMS, USSD, Recharge Info, Scratch cards, out dialers, news and print media. As an Indian company, they have only international clients. Their 1st four customers are the top ‘cellcos’ in West Africa and they are yet to roll out an Indian acquisition and service strategy.
“Acquiring and serving customers beyond your basic economical-cultural-political-geographical visibility is definitely a challenging and rewarding experience and me along with the team which we have built so far seems to be enjoying the challenges and that how it keeps on going. Every night that we sleep there would be some unclosed tickets and every morning we get up, there would have some more tickets which have opened up, but it’s the fun which keeps the wheel going,” says Vikas about his journey so far.
Acceptance of Vasonomics by the leading 5-7 telecom operators in Africa is their biggest achievement so far. From a single operator, single product company to becoming a multiple product into multiple operators and geographies is another considerable achievement. Vasonomics is also looking towards a possible source of funding for their expansion plans.
Check out Vasonomics and know more about their VAS offerings.