Greynium/ acquisition: My Thoughts

Yesterday we announced  Rajesh Jain‘s Netcore taking a majority stake in Greynium. Online media portals were quick to carry them,

I informed all VCs & bankers I was in touch with about this important development. Most, rather all, were very surprised with this news as nobody had guessed this deal was going to happen. But each one of them were happy for us. Satisfying.

Background of Greynium

Greynium owns India’s largest Indian language portal – & a popular horizontal classified portal Started in Jan 2006 we had raised angel money to grow the business. We had our share of ups & downs.

It has been 4 years since we started Greynium. I was trying to raise money from professional VCs, most of them liked what we did but none of them were sure about the future of Indian languages. Basically for them whatever we were doing (language space) was not a proven model in the US internet space.

The traffic numbers were on our side but nobody was willing to move (but later things changed, explained later in the post).  They just would not believe people are consuming Indian languages on the web.

Exit Options for Oneindia

December 2009 was a very eventful month in my life. I was given some unexpected bad news (corporate related) but the same day comscore‘s press release gave a thumbs up to’s growth. I learnt about this press release from a tweet. This press release made a huge difference, there were good number of calls to us about

We had to raise money to implement many of our plans that were waiting for quite sometime. We had to be part of a bigger umbrella.

In February 2010 I got into a difficult situation: wasn’t able to handle the various options we had for investment/exit. We decided to go with Netcore.

Why Netcore?

Greynium had worked on few of Netcore’s projects. The teams jelled well, never had any working issues. The management teams of both companies always got along well.

We are clearly seeing the increase in mobile internet in India (yes, it is early days) but the mobile penetration is difficult & impossible to ignore.  Netcore has done a phenomenal job when it comes to the mobile space in India. They had not spent anything on marketing (just like Oneindia, not a single penny spent on marketing so far). Both companies have grown because the product spoke for itself.

We agreed that each company had something which complement each other well – Oneindia had the content, Netcore had the mobile reach. The combination can & will build a formidable mobile+web entity.

Of the various options we had, Netcore was very bullish about the space we were in. They genuinely believed in what we were doing. And they were willing to walk the talk (quick term sheet, practical due diligence etc).

I strongly believed Netcore was a natural destination for Greynium. I had the support of our shareholders & the board, they agreed with my views and we went for it.

Who are responsible for Greynium’s growth?

For those who know us well, they know our management team is too small – just me & our COO Sriram Hebbar. We both have been juggling many many hats to keep things going. We have a great working relationship – never had a single misunderstanding simply because I am very transparent about everything with him, but yes we have disagreed about strategy which is healthy.

Our language editors have been just fantastic. I have believed in them & they have believed in me. The technical team was always under pressure and I can confidently say things will get only worse for them 😉

The support team –  HR dept (just one), accounts dept (just one), office admin (again just one) managed the team of 115, they rarely needed to speak with me about anything.

I would like to thank the advertisers, ad agencies, ad networks for the continued business they have given us.

Last but not the least, our users, rather ‘unique users’ have shown tremendous faith in our properties. We will continuously work towards improving things for them.

Plan For The Future

Many have asked me the standard question “So when are you leaving & what are you going to do next?”. Well, I am not going anywhere. I am here as I have lots & lots of pending work.


  1. NATARAJ says:

    Wish you the best, Sir. I was part of this fantastic family Greynium…had a very memorable two-year stint with cricket portal. Sir, I admire your unflinching spirit and courage you displayed in the face of adversity…hats off to you and your commander Mr. Sriram Hebbar. In fact I hardly had any opportunity to interact with you….but I always admired the way you run the business…soft, gentle yet a tough taskmaster. I wish and pray this new partnership strike GOLD…. Keep going Sir

  2. Cognratulations to BG and Team Greynium. I am sure that this strategic acquisition will be mutually benefitting to both the companies. Really a smart move.

  3. Sudhama says:

    Congratulations!! All the very best to all 115+ of you.

  4. Althaf says:

    Congrats Mahesh! Good luck in all your future ventures too.

  5. Pratibha says:

    Congratulations! Best Wishes to you and your teaam.

  6. Sushil Joshi says:

    Congratulations! Mahesh to you and your team. All the very best for the future.

  7. Arun Rao says:

    Congratulations Mahesh. All the very best for the future.

  8. Congratulations!! Sir I pray that oneindia grows many folds and becomes the leading portal in India

  9. Andrew Isaac says:

    Wow Mahesh. Impressive stuff. Congratulations to you and the rest of your team. Best wishes for the future.


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