Meet Valerie Wagoner, who built a company around the pure-desi concept of “missed-calls” that Twitter acquired
California-bred Valerie Wagoner, who was working in India since 2008 at mobile payments firm mChek, concocted Zipdial some 30,000 feet above the ground on a flight with her colleague, Sanjay Swamy to leverage the potential of ‘missed-calls’ for marketers, to better track brand loyalty.
A simple experiment of posting a toll-free number on Facebook asking users to dial the number and hang-up in order to receive the latest cricket scores as an instant SMS reinforced their belief in the model. The duo paired up with former Zapak engineer, Amiya Pathak and in February 2010, ZipDial, a mobile marketing and analytics company was born.
After securing early-stage funding, ZipDial made headlines for being the first Indian company to be acquired by social media giant Twitter in January this year. With that, Wagoner, CEO of ZipDial, added another title to her visiting card: Senior director, growth, Twitter.
In July 2011, ZipDial had scored its first big client Gillette India, and raised Rs.3.5 crore in funding from Mumbai Angels. Wagoner identifies three areas as challenges she faced during her initial phase as an entrepreneur — getting clients, hiring the right people and scaling up.
Named as a ‘Top Innovator under 35’ for India by MIT in 2013, Wagoner is a frequent columnist on start-up blogs. But Wagoner hasn’t had her fill of emerging markets yet. She is keen on connecting the offline world to the online one with ZipDial in countries such as South Africa, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil, etc. As she forges ahead into other emerging markets with enormous resources from Twitter at her disposal, she has one goal in mind, “Scaling an enterprise is of utmost importance. One thing I learnt the hard way was – raise money early on so that you have more capital to experiment with.”