Conversational AI agency Versa has entered into a joint venture with Mogaé to form Versa India. The India operations will launch on Diwali day, and will go commercial live from early 2021.
Melbourne-headquartered Versa said its expansion into India is to capitalise on demand for specialised conversational strategy and design in a market with a population of more than 1.3 billion people, and an installed base of nearly a billion mobile phones.
Versa India will be a 50/50 joint venture between Versa and Mogaé Consultants — owned by Sandeep and Tanya Goyal. The venture will utilise Versa’s resources from Australia, the US and Singapore to complement its own Indian-based resources, sales team and P&L capabilities. A top management team has been put in place in Mumbai and Delhi. Tanya Goyal will be Versa India’s chairperson.
Versa Global, CEO, Kath Blackham said the expansion would create opportunities for the Australian business to build a significant Indian operation and fill a gap for conversational AI and voice expertise in this multilingual country where low-cost smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa, and mobile Google Assistants are already very popular.
“Perhaps some tech companies in India already have the experience to build platforms such as websites, chatbots and apps but few have expertise in conversational strategy and design. We will leverage our established relationships with Amazon, Microsoft and Google to improve customer experience and make lives better by giving the Indian community access on voice to information they traditionally would not have had,” Kath said.
“This partnership will give our Australian operation access to a much bigger market, including the ability to trial projects at scale. We look forward to working with Mogaé’s experienced team to support our global clients and partners.”
Sandeep Goyal, is a well-known advertising and media veteran who has been a past President of Rediffusion, ex-Group CEO of Zee Telefilms and former Founder Chairman of Dentsu India. Tanya Goyal has been a six-term member of the Governing Council of the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and was Executive Director of Dentsu India. Mogaé Consultants was the India JV partner of Dentsu Inc. from 2003 to 2011.
Tanya Goyal said the venture reversed the traditional outsourcing paradigm, with India outsourcing tech development and specialist consulting services to Australia and the US. “Yet, we will have enough local capabilities to cater to client requirements in the domain of voice ‘skills’ and more”, added Tanya Goyal.
“Versa India will focus on creating conversational experiences that help streamline customer experiences and in developing solutions such as contact centre AI bots, websites and apps that have a foundation of conversational AI built in. We will be working closely with big brands in India to help them realise the potential of conversational AI and voice and how they can best infuse the power of voice within their organisation,” explains Goyal. “It is an exciting time for voice and conversational AI in India, and we look forward to helping established and well-known Indian brands embrace these emerging technologies for the Indian market.”
Versa’s expansion into India follows a highly successful launch into the US market close to a year ago.
Russ Whitman, who heads Versa operations in the US said, “I have had the opportunity to meet clients both in corporate, as well as government in India. There is a lot of interest in voice solutions as voice makes communication simple. VERSA is a pioneer in this space and the Mogaé leadership has the market outreach. It is a winning combo.”
“Global expansion is critical for any business that specialises as much as we do at VERSA, and we are excited for this next step, and the opportunities that lie ahead for our team,” added Kath Blackham.