Way2’s latest venture
Way2SMS, founded by Raju Vanapala in 2006, is the world’s largest online P2P messaging platform, with over 45 million users. Having rebranded itself as Way2 recently, the startup now seeks to provide greater strength to its foray into the news aggregation and curation segment. It will lay a special emphasis on vernacular content, in order to tap the ever-increasing rural smartphone user base.
About Way2, and its affiliates
Way2SMS has always been renowned for its ease of use and cost-effectiveness. The free messaging service can be easily availed of using an Android app. Raju and Co. seek to bring over this emphasis on user convenience and simplicity to Way2’s news curation services. The news itself will be provided in a magazine format, with importance being given to the user’s tastes. A variety of news segments-National, International, Sports, Entertainment, Environment and Job openings, among others-will be covered.
The Hyderabad-based firm also intends to send out short capsules of news offerings to its existing 45 million subscribers, thus adding value to Way2SMS’s messaging service. The team has already tested its app across various devices and 2G,3G and Wifi networks. A lot of fine-tuning has already gone into image optimization and related techniques, with the result that the pilot runs were met with excellent reviews by 5,000 sampled users.
Way2 does not seek to make use of funding initially. It anticipates little additional effort having to go into marketing, given the already phenomenal user base which the messaging service has garnered in Tier 2 and 3 cities. A user base of 2-3 million is expected to be built up before monetization efforts take off.
What we think
Each news story brought out by Way2 will consist of 400 characters. The vernacular news segment has immense potential, and a number of other enterprises are seeking to expand here. Way2’s biggest rivals will be Tiger Global-backed News in Shorts, Cruxtor and Awesummly. However, the huge existing network of its free messaging service, and excellent existing infrastructure are likely to keep Raju and Co. ahead of the rest.
Visit the free messaging service’s website for more info.