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'Search is a global phenomenon...'

india Updated: Jul 16, 2008 02:20 IST
Pratik Ghosh
Pratik Ghosh
Hindustan Times
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Q&A with Vibhor Mehra, principal partner of SAIF (Soft Bank Asia Infrastructure Fund), a US based company, which has invested in Just Dial.

What do you consider before investing in a company?
We consider a multitude of factors, most important being viability of the business model, long term growth potential with external fund infusion, industry and competitive positioning, as well as the capability and passion of the management team.

What convinced you of Just Dial's success?
Just Dial fared extremely well on all the above parameters. Mani had, over the years, single-handedly created this unique business model. We felt that oiling the business with funds would scale the company to a new growth orbit.

Are you satisfied with your investment and the market's growth?
The company has continued to demonstrate strong financial and operating performance, and has consolidated its near monopoly position in the telephonic search space. In addition, it has launched and acquired leadership position in new search channels - web, sms, mobile etc.

Where do you see Just Dial five years from now?
In five years, I see Just Dial expanding its offerings horizontally (more customers) as well as vertically (more value addition for each customer). I would see just dial servicing five times the number of customers it does today, and providing them a much more enriched and fulfilling search experience.

What are Just Dial's global opportunities?
Search is a global phenomenon and the need is universal. India is typically the toughest market for a business to achieve viability, and given its successful track record, we're confident that Just Dial can successfully replicate the model in other countries as well.