How Just Dial founder VSS Mani came with Internet Search Idea in 1996?

Just Dial is a Mumbai based Internet Search company that was started in 1996 by VSS Mani with only 50,000. Now, the firm is valued over $1.8 Billion and was acquired by Reliance Retails in 2020.

By Swati Chandra Aug 11 2021 5:29PM 5368 Read
VSS Mani’s Just Dial Story – Startup that Went from 50,000 to 690 Cr Revenue

Just Dial is an internet technology company that provides the service of various kinds of searches. It is available on the phone app, web, and mobile internet and one can search for any local service in your area with just one tap. The company provides information to its users and makes their life much easier. Let's get to know the story of this outstanding Indian startup.

Note: After nine years of the incorporation, Just Dial came up with the app version in 2007.

Just Dial - Key Points

  • Company Name - Just Dial
  • Founded - 1996
  • Founders - V.S.S Mani and V Krishnan
  • Headquarters - Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Parent Company - Reliance Retail
  • Company Type - Public
  • Sector - Local Search Engine Internet
  • Area Served - India
  • Revenue - $150 million
  • Number of Employees - 11,000
  • Website -

Just Dial Startup - Founders and Team

Just Dial got founded by V.S.S Mani and V Krishnan in 1996.

  • V.S.S Mani - Mani is the founder and CEO of the company. He has been with the company for 25 years and, his experience and knowledge helps the company.
  • V Krishnan - Krishnan is the co-founder and executive manager of the company. He completed his bachelor's degree from the University of Delhi, and he holds some crucial responsibilities in the company.
Just Dial Startup Story Just Dial Startup - Founders

Just Dial Story - Idea behind the team

V.S.S Mani worked for Yellow Pages in 1987. That is when he came up with the idea of this business. He started his business with a seed capital of INR 50,000 in a rented garage, rented computers, and five employees.

Mani wanted to create a local platform where people can call to receive any information they want.

Just Dial Startup - Brand Name, Logo, and Tagline

  • Brand Name - The brand name signifies what they do. They provide their customer with various kinds of searches in just one dial.
  • Logo - The logo Just Dial is nice and catchy to gather the attention of its users.
  • Tagline - Anything Anytime Anywhere.

Just Dial Startup - Business Model

The company has a business model of both paid and unpaid services. They work extensively on the data collection process to provide all pieces of information to their users. The company works in the same way as Google. It is the local search engine for people to search for innumerable services in India. Just Dial has listed small businesses on its platform. The company gets paid every time these businesses get any lead for services.

Just Dial Startup Story- Revenue Model

Just Dial earns its revenue from various sources such as premium subscriptions, analytical reports, data selling to users, the listing of ads, etc. The company started working as a digital phone directory-based company. But it soon shifted to the local search engine-based model. The company's revenue saw a rise of more than 25% in the last couple of years.

Just Dial Story - Funding, and Investors

Just Dial got a funding of $85 million in 3 rounds of funding. Some of the investors of the company are as follows:

  • $18 million - Nalanda Capital, Post-IPO Equity round, 2016
  • $57 million - Saphhire Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, Series E round, 2012
  • $10 million - Sapphire Ventures and Sequoia Capital Index, Venture Round, 2011

Just Dial Startup Story - Acquisition

Just Dial got acquired by an Indian giant company, Reliance Retail, in 2021. The company bought a stake of 66.95% for INR 3,497 crores.The founders of the company will continue to lead it.

Note: - Reliance wanted to buy 40.95% of the stake but, Just Dial made an extra offer to acquire 26% of the stake.

Just Dial Startup Story - Marketing Techniques

Some of the marketing strategies of the company are as follows:

  • Dealing with varied helps the company in giving information about them.
  • They have hired Ranveer Singh as their brand ambassador. It plays a vital role in catching the attention of the customers.
  • They advertise their services through print, TV, and social media. organizations

Just Dial Story - Products and Services

Some of the products and services of the company are as follows:

  • Just Dial Social - It is a service that combines content from various social media websites, news, TV, etc.
  • Search Plus Service - Just Dial provides this service to its customers, where they can handle online transactions through app and website.

Just Dial - Growth

The company saw various fluctuations in its share price after its listing in 2013. The price fell and raised a couple of times and, its highest share price was INR 1894.7 in 2015. The company earned a net profit of $5.5 million in the first quarter end of 2018. The company saw a growth of 11% and got revenue of $30.2 million in the same year. The board of directors bought back the shares of the company for $31.5 million.

Just Dial - Competitors

The company has a lot of competitors in the market. Some of its competitors are as follows:

  • Sulekha
  • Quikr
  • IndiaMART
  • Urban Company
  • Timesinfoline
  • Exchange
  • Asklaila
  • Zimmber
  • Exporters India
  • Nearby

Just Dial has the greatest number of employees working together for the organization. Due to this, the company got ranked at the top of the list amongst its competitors.

Just Dial Startup - Challenges

Some of the challenges faced by the company are as follows:

  • Pandemic - The prevailing pandemic has hit the business badly. Just Dial has also felt the impact of the pandemic as the whole country was in entire lockdown. Customers were not using the platform for local searches. Just Dial outgrew with that issue but, it will have to plan new strategies to fight any other pandemic.
  • Competitors - Just Dial is one of the leading players in the market amongst all of its competitors. They can give cut-throat competition to Just Dial. The company will have to develop new techniques to increase its customer base and win over its rivals.

Just Dial Story - Future Plans

The company went public in 2013 on NSE (National Stock Exchange). Some of the plans of the company are as follows:

  • The company plans to buy at least 25% of its free reserves and paid-up capital.
  • The estimated cost of it is $26 million. The company got successful in its planning.
  • To connect with more businesses and bring them on their platform.

Just Dial – India’s Number One Business Search Company

Just Dial is working well in its sector and, it is ranked number one amongst all of its rival companies. Users love the services provided by them. According to the experts, Just Dial has a bright future ahead. Reliance Retail has recently acquired the company and, it is going to grow in the future.

Swati Chandra
Swati Chandra View More Posts

I am an English Honours graduate from Delhi University and writing is my passion. I like writing sweet, fun, action-packed mysteries. My characters are clever and fearless, but in real life, I am afraid of basements, bees, and going upstairs when it is dark behind. I have 2+ years of experience in this field and have worked with several websites as an intern.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

enter How much is