IDGVI News: Media Coverage 2008

IDG backs online ad firm Ozone Media | July 02, 2008

IDG Ventures India has made two investments, including in Ozone, so far and plans two more this year

By Namitha Jagadeesh

Lucrative start-ups:Manik Arora of IDG Ventures India. (Photograph by Hemant Mishra / Mint)

Mumbai: In a bid to leverage the learnings of venture-backed Internet successes in other markets, Bangalore-based IDG Ventures India is sniffing out start-ups with business models similar to other International Data Group Inc. investments in Asia and the US.

The latest addition, online advertising network Ozone Media Solutions Pvt. Ltd, follows a model similar to two of IDG's most successful exits in online advertising-US-based BlueLithium Inc., which was acquired by Yahoo Inc., and China's Allyes Information Technology Co. Ltd, acquired by Focus Media Holdings Ltd, for $300 million each.

Ozone, which offers customised service for advertisers across verticals such as news, financial services and entertainment, has received an undisclosed first round funding from IDG Ventures.

With this strategy, "the cost of making mistakes will hopefully go down in Internet investing in India," said Manik Arora, managing director, IDG Ventures India.

Ozone is the firm's second investment in an online company and it plans two more this year. IDG Ventures had earlier funded Mumbai-based Kreeda Games India Pvt. Ltd, which it said is similar to Vietnamese online gaming company Vinagames, funded by IDG Ventures Vietnam.

Other venture-backed online advertising networks in India include Smile Interactive Technology Group's Tyroo, backed by Yahoo, and Komli Inc., backed by Nexus India Capital, Helion Venture Partners and DFJ.

Unlike the India investment arms of other US-based venture capital firms, IDG Ventures India is part of International Data Group's network of independent partnerships.

International Data Group does not manage these funds, but is simply the largest limited partner (institution that backs funds), and offers the funds branding and access to its media platforms.

While it is not unusual for venture capital companies to bet on businesses in India based on models proven successful in other markets, IDG Ventures India wants to take such synergies to the next level. Portfolio companies will share technology, business leads and even work out revenue-sharing models.

Ozone has partnered with an IDG portfolio firm in South-East Asia to source advertising leads there looking to target Indians, and with Bangalore-based 3D Solid Compression Pvt. Ltd to efficiently serve video advertising on its network. With the funds, "we will scale up our team of 15, set up a Delhi office and build new technology platforms," says Ozone founder Kiran Gopinath.