Recent investments by U.S. companies into Indian-based startups are proof that there are innovative tech companies in places some companies may have never thought to look. Startups in emerging markets are increasingly catching the eyes of foreign investors. As of 2013, only 15% of India’s population had internet access. However, this is a number that has more than doubled since 2010. As India and other emerging economies become better connected from a digital perspective, more and more tech companies will emerge.
Social networking site Twitter has added another company to its list of growing acquisitions. Early last week, Twitter agreed to purchase ZipDial, an Indian-based startup that provides services to the majority of mobile users in the country who do not have data plans. The service works by asking users to dial a specific phone number and then hang up before the call connects. This "missed call" triggers a text message alert system that will then deliver information ranging from sports scores to coupons depending on the number the user dialed. The attraction is that these "missed calls" do not count against a user’s prepaid minutes and are therefore free.
While this is Twitter’s first acquisition in India, it is not the first U.S. social media company to invest in India. In January 2014, Facebook purchased an Indian software startup that analyzes Android app performance. Also, Yahoo! recently bought an Indian-based company named Bookpad, a company that helps developers implement document editing features into their own software. In addition, Amazon.com has stated that it will invest $2 billion in its Indian version of the site.
The increasing number of acquisitions and investments into Indian-based tech startups points to an untapped market for companies looking to expand. ZipDial was formed out of a necessity to meet the needs of a lower-income population, and there are sure to be many other companies doing the same.