This Company Used Evangelical Christian Mobile Data to Influence US Elections

Anindya Datta

In Episode #766, Nathan interviews Anindya Datta. He is the CEO and Chairman of a company called Mobilewalla, a mobile consumer, audience platform company. Before Mobilewalla, he founded a company called Chutney Technologies where he was backed by Kleiner Perkins which was eventually acquired by Cisco Systems. He has been on the faculties of Georgia Tech, The University of Arizona and The National University of Singapore. He obtained his undergraduate degree many years ago and his MS and PhD degrees from the University of Maryland College Park.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The New New Thing by Michael Lewis
  • What CEO do you follow? – Jose Mourinho
  • Favorite online tool? — Outlook and Gmail
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 5 ½ hours
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – Drink less and study harder

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:26 – Nathan introduces Anindya to the show
  • 02:21 – Mobilewalla collects data for how consumers behave on mobile and processes it for mobile marketers—they have two products: mobile audience and raw mobile data
  • 03:38 – When companies buy the audience, Mobilewalla provides the IDs and it is a one-time deal; the raw data is given on a subscription-basis which is paid monthly
  • 04:28 – Right now the SaaS model is earning more in terms of revenue, but Anindya thinks this will change in December
    • 04:57 – They are currently modifying the audience pricing to become a recurring stream
    • 05:10 – They are planning to offer the data segments needed by a company and get a monthly payment for it
  • 06:07 – Mobilewalla gets their data from different sources including the ad request system in mobile, they barter with the ad company in exchange for data
    • 06:54 – They also put a pixel in an ad and obtain data from you as you browse
    • 07:23 – This includes your location
  • 07:57 – The company started with buying the information they can collect from other companies’ ads and then moved on to trading
  • 08:32 – 2014 is their first revenue year where they got $1 million from the cut of the media buy
    • 09:10 – 2015 was also all media buys where they got $4 million
  • 10:18 – They stopped media buying in June 2016 and played a key role in the US presidential election—the revenue generated was $4 million: $750,000 in data and $3.25 million was from media
  • 11:33 – The projection for this year is $5.1 million (all coming from data), but they have deals with companies that include media work
  • 12:21 – Mobilewalla was one of the key data arms for a major party
    • 12:33 – They created segments for evangelical Christians
    • 13:31 – Anindya cannot share who they worked for but they can say the client was very happy with their work
  • 14:10 – They raised their capital thru venture funding which are convertible notes worth $4 million; they have not yet raised a series B
  • 15:50 – In May 2016, all the revenue was from data and they got $12,000. In June of this year, they hit $250,000—this is a 20x growth in 13 months
    • 16:32 – In May 2017, they made $172,000
  • 17:05 – On SaaS, they have 9 customers with subscription accounts and they pay from $8,500 to $41,000 a month
    • 17:21 – The biggest chunk of audience revenue comes from Oracle, they get paid based on the segments that were sold
    • 18:10 – In June, they were close to $100,000 from their mobile audience; there are over 250 organizations buying from them including Unilever and Procter and Gamble
  • 19:12 – Ever since they started there are only two companies who have not continued working with them
  • 20:01 – The company has two sellers – one in New York and one in Singapore
  • 20:27 – The total team size is 38 with 3 focused on sales acquiring new clients; the average sales cycle for a SaaS client is 45 days
  • 21:21 – There is zero variable marketing spend for the company
  • 21:51 – The company headquarters is in New York and the US team is located in New York and Atlanta where the US engineering team is based
    • 22:12 – The US team size is 10, the Singapore team size is 12, and the rest is based in Calcutta, India
  • 24:21 – The biggest amount of money they generated during the election was the “get out to vote or GOTV” – they monitored every polling booth in a certain number of states and they were able to tell the ground team who voted and who did not
    • 25:04 – During the election, their data was acquired in real time
  • 27:15 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Invest in a business that can bring in profit; this will give you the capital you need for your other businesses.
  2. Data is king.
  3. You CAN barter with other companies to reduce your spend on marketing.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Simplero – The easiest way to launch your own membership course like the big influencers do but at 1/10th the cost.
  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives