“Location Is Not A Constraint In Mobile Content Business”

Last week, a deal in the mobile content space went largely unnoticed. We spotted it because we track the space closely. Induslogic, an outsourced software product company, acquired Lambent Technologies, a Nagpur-based gaming and porting company. We agree Lambent, headquartered in Nagpur, is not a top of the line mobile content company yet. Most of its revenues come from porting. One of the reasons proferred by its CEO was that Nagpur cannot be a great place to get work for a mobile content company.
This got me thinking. I know Tinfo Mobile, a firm in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, which has got national attention. I wanted to know how it felt to be so far away from the action (Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore) and make a living out of mobile content from a tier two city.
I talked to Jayadev Gopalakrishnan, 26 year-old CEO of Tinfo Mobile. He says there are no disadvantages of being from Thiruvanthapuram. “It all depends on the people and how you steer the organisation. The city is actually now home to a growing number of mobile value added services companies,” says Gopalakrishnan.
Mobile startups are coming out of the local engineering colleges in Kerala. Here is a company called TNGicube, set up by a group of students from SCT College of Engineering. They are working in the short code space and have struck deals with TV channels. Then there is Torque which was set up by students of the Trivandrum College of Engineering. Final year students of these engineering colleges want to do something on their own and mobile space seems to be their calling.
It’s interesting to see how a place like Thiruvananthapuram which lost out to Bangalore and Hyderabad in IT revolution is trying to make a mark in mobile space, says Gopalakrishnan.
“I think mobile content business is one that can engender entrepreneurship across India.” Surprisingly, Kerala has kept up with the pace here. “I don’t think location is a constraint. We are based out of Thiruvananthapuram and have done good work. It depends on what value you can offer,” says Gopalakrishnan. He, however, adds that it helps to be in Mumbai to network and be in constant contact with operators. For that, you only need a sales and marketing office there. “I don’t think you need to have your development centre based out of big cities like Mumbai or Bangalore.”
But Tinfo is not in competition with a Mobile2win or an Indiagames. “We are a niche mobile content player. We have award-winning mobile applications. We are not a pure play mobile gaming company. We don’t focus on churning out, say, 30 titles every month, but focus on quality. We do a lot of co-production deals,” says Gopalakrishnan. It’s good to see companies from India’s backyard talking with confidence.