Hotmail co-founder’s new venture is for commercial realty

For Sabeer Bhatia, the search for the next Hotmail continues.

The last idea from the co-founder of Hotmail, JaxtrSMS, a mobile application that allowed users to send a text message to any mobile in the world for free didn’t take off, with Bhatia blaming its revenue model.

“I firmly believe that advertising in the mobile space, just basically any form of advertising over mobile phones doesn’t work. The sheer number of apps that are now present on the market ensures that you can’t make money off of it through advertising,” he said, adding that this was the current problem with Facebook’s mobile revenue model as well.

AMP Technologies

Bhatia’s comments echo the general industry trend where, according to research firm eMarkter Inc., less than 2 per cent of all marketing spending goes towards mobile advertising.

This is despite the much touted fact that smartphones and tablets now generate more than 20 per cent of Internet traffic. The 43-year old Silicon Valley entrepreneur’s latest idea, however, has brought him to Chennai. AMP Technologies, which he has co-founded with Neel Naicker, will be a software developer and vendor focusing initially on the U.S commercial real estate industry. The offerings would range from business intelligence to asset management. Bhatia said the idea to form the company was born out of his ‘own frustration with the lack of information available about the real estate market’

Legacy software

“I think the commercial real estate companies are underserved in terms of software needed for lease administration, finance accounting and due diligence services. You have companies like Yardi and MRI, but they are legacy systems— which are over 25 years old. While we are initially looking at U.S-based customers, our eventual focus will include the Indian market as well,” Mr. Bhatia said.

The company has opened a 250-seater development-cum-services facility here and aims to ramp up its employees to 1000 by 2015 from the present 100.

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