How MapmyIndia built a customer-centric business around digital maps
The investor tour was launched. There were 80 one-on-one meetings with key investors scheduled prior to the Initial public offering of Rs 1,040 crore (IPO) of CE Info Systems – better known as “MapmyIndia”.
Meeting after meeting, Rakesh Kumar Verma, President and CEO of CE Info Systems, patiently heard a key question that he and his wife, Rashmi, first discussed at length in the United States in 1995, that is, three years before Google was born.
Most investors are curious to understand: How will beto earn money with digital cards? The answer has its roots in a conversation between Rakesh and Rashmi in 1994.
The couple had returned to India in the early 1990s, but visited the United States periodically. During one of these visits, they came across digital maps for the first time.
“It looks cute, but what could this be the case?the couple wondered.
Rakesh had worked in the United States for a decade in commercial functions at companies like EDS. Rashmi had worked as a software developer with IBM. They wanted to start a business in India, far from offshore technology services – a software technology company with a growing customer base in India.
âOur idea was clear: we are building a digital card product and not giving the intellectual property to anyone. But we can provide it as a service,â Rakesh said. Your story one day before the opening of MapmyIndia’s IPO to investors.
Rashmi Verma, Chief Technology Officer of CE Info Systems, began building the proprietary map database in 1995. Rakesh began researching clients who would pay for projects requiring maps for location-based planning.
“We started to think and imagine for ourselvesâany data that exists will definitely require a localization component. We were convinced, âsaid Rakesh.
Rakesh Verma and Rashmi Verma in the winter of 1979.
The MapmyIndia database today was built through collection and compilation of geolocated GPS data, photographs, videos, 360 degree panoramic images, names and other attributes on roads, buildings, places and boundaries.
Its technological team updates the database by collect and acquire data through professional, technology-driven field surveys, advanced sensors, IoT devices and use of the platform, in addition to the use of professional and professionally authenticated data.
But in 1995, the founders built the cartographic database on the basis of physical surveys on paper, which Rashmi would digitize into digital maps, and develop measurement tools.
Rakesh’s role was to get authorizations and approvals from government officials in the Ministries of Road Transport and Highways, Science and Technology, among others, to use the maps.
Rashmi Verma, co-founder and CTO (left to right), Rakesh Verma, president and CEO, and Rohan Verma, CEO and full-time director of CE Info Systems.
Since then, MapmyIndia has evolved using technological advancements, such as Satellite imagery, GPS equipment, mobile mapping and 360-degree car surveys.
But who would pay for digital cards? In 1996, the founders kept an eye on growing sectors and required large physical operations: cola companies, telecoms.
One of MapmyIndia’s first clients was Coca-Cola India, who started his engagement at locate its national network of bottlers. It was important for the Coca-Cola India legal team.
This relationship extended to geolocation and mapping of its distribution network, then of its transport and logistics partners. It was important for Coca-Cola India distribution and merchandising teams.
Likewise, the MapmyIndia database has become important for mobile operators to strategize, based on maps, where their telecommunications towers were to be built.
“We realized that there are so many use cases, and continued to develop the map, âsaid Rakesh.
“MapmyIndia is a story that hasn’t been told for so long,” says Sameer Nigam, Co-Founder and CTO of PhonePe, which owns a 19.15% stake in CE Info Systems.
âMapmyIndia has three strong revenue touchpoints: automotive, consumer and digital technology companies, and use cases in government (forest service). They have money in the bank and have been profitable for the longest time, âSameer said. Explain.
Over the past decade, apps from PhonePe, Paytm and Ola, to Flipkart and Amazon have built their location-based services in addition to the MapmyIndia database.
In terms of total revenue, CE Info Systems grew 5.6% on a compound basis in three years to 192.3 crore, with profits increased by 21% over the same period.
Rashmi Verma (left) and Rakesh Kumar Verma, founders of CE Info Systems.
Income is based on a active clientele of 500 companies. However, MapmyIndia relies on a limited number of clients for a significant portion of its revenue.
The number of customers who represented 80% of MapmyIndia’s operating revenues was 17, 22, 25 and 18 during fiscal years 2019, 2020 and 2021 and during the six-month period ended September 30, 2021, respectively, according to its red herring prospectus.
The management led by Rohan verma, CEO of CE Info Systems, will need to increase revenue per corporate client in the long tail, while reducing reliance on its top 10 accounts.
Operating revenues are classified under âmap and data productsâ and âplatform and IoT (Internet of Things) productsâ. Operating revenue of cartographic and data products (Rs 60.78 crore, or 40% of FY2021 revenue) is based on companies in industries like automotive that are deploying the map database as a service.
the IoT platform and products The segment accounted for 60% of operating revenue – or Rs 91.69 crore – in fiscal 2021.
Its IoT platform, ‘InTouch’, offers applications such as near real-time vehicle and asset tracking for fleet, transportation and logistics management. âIt’s basically the APIs (application programming interface) that we give to PhonePe, Grofers and Paytm,â says Rakesh. âIt’s more transaction-based income. “
MapmyIndia’s software platform, “Workmate”, enables workforce and workflow management, monitoring and automation capabilities.
The company has a employee base of 754 employees, as of September 30, 2021, compared to 911 in fiscal 2019.
CE Info Systems almost halved its ânon-permanent employeesâ from 600 in 2019 to 334 in September 2021. As a result, its total employee expenses Decreased from Rs 64.27 crore in fiscal 2020 to Rs 53.95 crore in fiscal 2021
A lot of non-permanent tasks involving field work, says Rakesh, adding that MapmyIndia will seek to automate many functions in the field.
Even more worrying, its expenditure on R&D activities fell to Rs 76 lakh during fiscal year 2021, against Rs 91.7 lakh the previous year. For the six months ended September 30, 2021, he spent 52.3 lakh, according to CE Info Systems’ red herring prospectus.
Rakesh Verma says that the Covid-19 pandemic demanded that many such measures be taken. Although MapmyIndia is a tech company at heart, it has always been the customer first, he adds.
This is how CE Info Systems grew in its first 12 years before funding from external investors.. And that is why it is now ready to be listed on Indian National Stock Exchanges.