Early-stage startups need cost-effective tools to ‘test the waters’ for their businesses. In this digital age, picking a relevant domain name and setting up a functional website has become a basic ‘hygiene check’ for any entrepreneur to be taken seriously and also expand his/her reach.
This is where GoDaddy and its competitors come into the picture, to help early-stage entrepreneurs with such ‘hygiene checks’ and also follow it up with add-on services like hosting, security and marketing. YourStory recently interacted with Andrew Low Ah Kee, Executive VP, GoDaddy International, and Rajiv Sodhi, VP and MD, GoDaddy, India and Australia, to understand why GoDaddy is bullish on India, and talk about the launch of a new cloud offering and also how they plan to give back to the community with their latest community offering- Flare.
Why GoDaddy is bullish on India
Andrew, who is responsible for GoDaddy’s business outside of the US, previously worked at KKR, a global investment firm that was an investor in GoDaddy. The firm then went on to acquire GoDaddy from Bob Parsons, the Founder of GoDaddy, in 2011.
In 2014, Andrew joined GoDaddy as SVP, Finance & Growth, and more recently took over his current role overlooking international developments as EVP. He said that he fell in love with GoDaddy’s vision and goal of helping SMBs get off the ground, which persuaded him to shift, leaving KKR to join GoDaddy.
Talking about the Indian market, Rajiv, who has been leading GoDaddy’s India and Australia operations as an MD since 2012, noted that lot of Indian entrepreneurs had a wrong perception about the internet a few years ago- “that it is tough, complex and hence not for me.” So GoDaddy’s goal became the simplification of the process so that the mass market could leverage the power of the internet.
We recently launched in three Indian languages– Hindi, Tamil, and Marathi- and immediately saw a 40 percent call-volume shift to local languages in two weeks, instead of English. So we had market validation that local languages have huge potential.
Andrew noted that GoDaddy is now bullish on India as approximately 26 percent of the company’s revenue comes from the country. It is also the fastest growing market in terms of new customers signing up.
With an estimated 51 million small businesses, one million websites and 4 million domains registered in India so far, Rajiv and Andrew see a lot of headroom for growth here. Rajiv added, “65 percent of India is still offline, without basic internet access. But the scenario is changing and it is expected that India will have 750 million internet users by 2020. As the masses come online, businesses will follow, as it becomes more important to ensure their brand and online identity are protected.”
GoDaddy had two notable product announcements-
a)Cloud hosting at 50p per hour
GoDaddy also announced the expansion of its hosting services with the launch of Cloud Servers and Cloud Applications for SMBs in India. With ‘54-second or less’ provisioning, GoDaddy Cloud Servers claims to allow developers to build, test and re-provision the virtual instances instantly.
It also includes a “pay-as-you-go” utility billing offering, which provides flexibility and control of hourly billing and monthly limits, to make it more affordable for customers. GoDaddy confirmed that the solution is available at a price of 50 paisa per hour.
“The launch of Cloud Servers from GoDaddy will enable India’s web developers with affordable solutions to better serve their customers and grow their businesses,” said Rajiv. “India presents a sizeable market for expanded hosting products such as Cloud Servers. By offering a cloud offering that integrates domains, DNS, security and backups all in one place, developers can save time and exceed their clients’ expectations.”
GoDaddy Cloud Servers come integrated with Cloud Applications powered by Bitnami. This partnership provides ‘one-click optimised installation’ of around 120 applications, ranging from content management systems like WordPress and Drupal, to customer relationship management (CRM) tools like Odoo and OpenERP, to e-commerce applications like OpenCart and Magento.
The Cloud Servers will also allow customers to manage and maintain new and existing domains and subdomains. Additionally, by featuring snapshots, users are allowed to save their configurations and launch new servers with that image in a few minutes, instead of starting from scratch. SMBs can also automatically backup their data without downtime; GoDaddy claims to offer 99.9 percent uptime and the flexibility to assign multiple permanent IPs to a single server, as and when required.
b) Giving back with Flare
GoDaddy announced the launch of Flare, a community app that helps startups collaborate, share ideas and get guidance from fellow entrepreneurs and experts. The aim is to provide an immediate resource to receive feedback and drive new ideas forward.
Upon opening Flare, users see new business ideas from the community and can swipe left to “skip,” swipe right to &8220;snooze&8221; or tap to learn more and &8220;love&8221; an idea. Users can become followers of an idea and pledge to be a future customer, which provides insights to entrepreneurs on the potential demand for their products or services. When an idea has 10 “loves,” the entrepreneur behind it can pose questions to the idea&8217;s followers.
Flare also includes ‘Top Charts’ that showcase the top 20 most popular ideas within the Flare community on a given day, which helps make it easier for entrepreneurs to gain supporters for their ideas. GoDaddy believes that small businesses will lead the charge for the internet economy in India and aims to continue educating small business owners on what the internet can do for them.
The Indian success story
Since setting up shop in India in 2012, GoDaddy has been able to capture a sizable chunk of the Indian market. Andrew and Rajiv shared three key points that helped them reach this stage-
- Listening to customers&8211; Rajiv noted that when they launched GoDaddy in India, their feedback was that the original hosting tools were ‘too rich’ with features. So based on feedback, they developed a more basic India-specific ‘starter edition’ version, which did well and is still popular now.
- 24/7 customer care&8211; Customer care is important when SMBs are involved. Hence, GoDaddy runs a 24/7 inbound and outbound customer support centre located in Hyderabad, providing support in all the three Indian languages it currently offers. Rajiv noted that availability in local languages has eliminated one of the major barriers to entry and adoption.
- Affordability and ease of use&8211; Since the customers involved are SMB’s, GoDaddy looks to ensure that their price points for different services are affordable for the masses. It has launched products such as ‘Get Online Today’ (to help businesses build a website, complete with Office 365), ‘GoDaddy Online Store’ (to help set up an e-commerce website/store with little technical knowhow, without the help of a professional) and ‘Personal Domains’ (to allow SMBs to create a distinct online web presence when they aren’t ready to build a full website).
- Marketing campaigns and partnerships&8211; GoDaddy is known globally for its quirky and innovative marketing and advertising campaigns. To reach small business owners across tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India, GoDaddy has tailored its marketing campaigns with a mix of regional and national flavour, and also included their first ever global marketing campaign (customised for India).
GoDaddy has also partnered with e-commerce platform ShopClues to help small businesses establish a unique online identity and go beyond the marketplace model. Andrew and Rajiv noted that they see a lot of growth potential in India and are now taking their learnings that have worked here to other comparable markets like Brazil and Mexico as a part of GoDaddy’s global expansion.