Startup landscape in local space

December 16, 2011  —

Startup landscape in local space

A couple of days ago a friend showed me pluggdin forums. He suggested I start a discussion and being in the Local space for so long, decided to explore the Hyper-Local space. I started the discussion, but then got too busy to come back to it. Yesterday came back to it and was quite surprised to see the number of discussions. Now Local and Hyper-Local are two different terms and I don't claim to know the difference between them, But I felt it was a good opportunity to see what is happening in the Local space. Rest of the discussion is copied verbatim from there

Local Shopping : Yes this is one big opportunity, and after failing (in one sense) with Local listing, people are looking at this niche as well (nudge nudge zopnow). But I am not really convinced about the size of this market to warrant a startup. A number of them (fabmall now IndiaPlaza) tried earlier and failed quite miserably (in all senses). But yes if Flipkart can know IndiaPlaza off, I am open to surprises. But personally will not bet my money (Do I have any?)

Local Info : As CitizenMatters has shown there is definitely a demand for this. Maybe niche. May not be online (as the target audience is not online). Some are approaching it from a philanthropic front (CitizenMatters), some are actually treating this as a niche but don't have a big budget (CityPlus of Dainik Jagaran) and some obviously are trying to solve it from technology perspective. There needs to be some alignment with the above three seemingly orthogonal viewpoints to converge and make a larger impact. I have closely monitored CityPlus execution and knowing that they are maybe breaking even, I am quite bullish on this aspect. Self generated Content (citizenmatters), with a razor sharp offline circulation(cityplus) and using technology to reduce all other costs will make you win this game.

Local Listing : Clearly tonnes of companies have embarked on this train hoping to replicate JustDial's success and not one has succeeded. To borrow Ashish's words here, it's not the technology that you need here. A lot of people have dissected this space, so I will just ignore and move on.

Local Directions : We at ONZE provide directions on SMS. When people hear about it first they brush it off saying who needs them? Google is there for online. Does it work? Not really. What about offline? SMS is too cumbersome. The fact is that we have an awesome location aware local search and directions service on SMS. But even today the requests for directions surpasses local search on our platform. Believe me, this is one big space. We have just scratched the surface and are quite excited as we are digging deeper.

Local Advertisement : A TV commercial in one barometer to measure your arrival as a brand/product/service. Only the rich can afford it and masses can only see them. But what if a Local business wants to advertise on TV, and that too only for his city? Big opportunity right? Look what Amagi is doing.

Local Ad platform : Millions of apps being made today but there are just handful of them (like angry birds) who are making money. Next are the mobile ad platform like inmobi who would be making the next big buck just by sitting between the advertisers and publishers. Taking a cue from Amagi, I personally feel that the moment these Ad platforms (or maybe a new one) focuses exclusively on providing the ability to the advertisers to advertise hyper-locally (show only to jayanagar folks), it will provide a huge benefit to the advertisers. Not only the conversion will be higher, both the advertisers and consumers will be happy.

So do watch out this space. That's it and let me know your views.

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