Twitter to acquire mobile marketing start-up ZipDial

Twitter Inc today said it would acquire Indian mobile marketing start-up ZipDial, reportedly for $30 million to $40 million, as the US microblogging service looked to expand in the world's second-biggest mobile market, Reuters reported.

Bengaluru-based ZipDial gave clients phone numbers for use in marketing campaigns.

Consumers called the numbers and hung up before connecting and incurring charges. They then receive promotion-related text messages.

The start-up had signed up an impressive number of clients including top brands like International Business Machines Corp, Yum! Brands Inc's KFC and Procter & Gamble Co, and Gillette.

The service looked to leverage a local practice of communicating through so-called missed calls. A person might give a friend a missed call to signal arrival at an agreed destination, for instance, without incurring the expenses of a phone call.

Twitter said in a statement ''unique behaviour'' of this local practice of missed calls was behind sthe start-up.

The terms of the purchase were not disclosed by Twitter, but Techcrunch, citing unidentified sources reported the deal at $30 million to $40 million.

"This acquisition significantly increases our investment in India, one of the countries where we're seeing great growth," Twitter said in a statement.

Meanwhile, NDTV reported that this was Twitter's first acquisition in India. The expertise of the Bangalore-based company would be used to make Twitter more accessible around the world, the company said.

"Over the next several years, billions of people will come online for the first time in countries like Brazil, India and Indonesia," said Christian Oestlien, VP of Product, Twitter in a statement confirming the acquisition, adding, "For many, their first online experience will be on a mobile device - but the cost of data may prevent them from experiencing the true power of the Internet. Twitter, in partnership with ZipDial, can make great content more accessible to everyone."

The company was founded by CEO Valarie R Wagoner, COO Amiya Pathak and chairman Sanjay Swamy in 2010, and had already worked in collaboration with Twitter earlier.