In VSS Mani’s own words, there has not been an entrepreneur in his family for 100 generations. With his first venture AskMe (India’s first phone-based directory), the founder and CEO of JustDial made the same mistake committed by several of today’s entrepreneurs: overspending. Moreover, landline phone penetration in India was low and thus AskMe was compelled to shut shop in 1989. After four years of trying his luck at various enterprises—even as a wedding planner—Manni launched JustDial as a telephone-based search engine. In 2002, Mani decided to bet big on voice-enabled local search and marketing. He could also foresee that more queries would eventually be generated from the mobile and internet. JustDial launched internet-based service in 2007 for local business listings. In the last few years, Mani has been shepherding another major transition at the Mumbai-based company. JustDial is morphing into an e-commerce marketplace by expanding the scope of its B2C transaction-based services. Recently, it launched the Search Plus app that integrates each of its 25 transaction-related services on a single platform.
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