A ‘Ybrant’ Success

TRAIL BLAZER/ NET GAINS, Business Standard

Aarti Menon Caroll / Mumbai July 13, 2006 – It was all the hype accompanying the dotcom boom in the Bay Area that tempted Suresh Reddy into a career shift and co-found Ybrant Technologies. After working for 6-7 years with engineering majors like Chrysler and Caterpillar and a short stint with Charles Schwabb as a business analyst, Reddy tells Business Standard that he took the plunge into e-commerce and found that he could support services for similar enterprises.

In 1994, an old friend and I, in our spare time, started a website called usagreetings.com – an e-greeting website powered by a personal archive of images and photographs. When traffic started building up around 1999, we decided to quit our jobs and register the company. That’s how I turned entrepreneur. By 2000, we had 50 employees in Hyderabad developing exclusive content for us, and 15 marketing staff in San Fransisco. We were among the top 10 greeting card websites, and had an inventory of more than 10,000 greeting cards. But when the dotcom boom slowed down, and Venture Capital investment inflow subsided, advertising revenue started dipping. That’s when we decided a directional shift had to happen.

At that point, marketing on the Internet was undergoing a transition, becoming more transaction based – affiliate marketing popularized largely by Amazon. The most attractive aspect of affiliate marketing, from the merchant’s viewpoint, was that with this pay-for-performance model, no payment is due to an affiliate publisher until results are realized. We had earlier introduced the ‘Powered by USAGreetings’ engine – our first eMarketing product, so we decided our strengths lay in technology and marketing.

From that emerged Ybrant Technologies, initially servicing one-man, two-men e-commerce enterprises, offering backend tools in technology to help them stay in business. We were also selling to internet based marketing companies that were starting to mushroom. We had developed tools to execute, monitor and measure eMarketing strategies on usagreetings.com so it was in some ways it was an extension of what we had started.

Today, Ybrant technologies with over 150 employees, has expertise in developing large web-based software systems and tools designed to address the varied needs of our clients. Our creative services include website design and redesign, email marketing creatives, newsletters, and landing pages.

In the last 11-12 years we have serviced mainly travel, personal finance and software product companies. There’s been phenomenal growth in internet marketing. Customers are increasingly adopting internet as a medium of choice to advertise. The type of advertisements including pop-ups, banner ads, marquees and others is also expanding by the day. Current spends on internet advertising in the US is about US$15 billion. About 10 per cent of all advertising is spent on eMarketing. Our current strategy is to move up the value chain and acquiring some of our internet marketing clients, become end to end marketing solution providers.

About 80-90 per cent of the global ad spend on e-marketing originates in the US and that’s why we have been focused on the US market. We are, however, a cross-border organization – most of the development work and support services are carried out in India, and the sales and marketing team is in the US. We’re starting to look at Europe, China and India in a big way.