We are expanding India team for our global play: EIG boss Jeff H Fox

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Over 30 million Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in India are yet to benefit from full scale internet technologies. That’s an exciting growth opportunity, among others, that the Nasdaq listed Endurance International Group (EIG) sees in India. EIG, an IT services company which specialises in web hosting and other services, is expanding its presence in India, hiring more engineers, even as it sees the country as a significant growth market. In an interview, Jeffrey H Fox, global president and CEO of Endurance International Group discusses the India opportunity, R&D focus, the company’s plans and more. Excerpts:


Endurance’s strategy for growth has been via acquisitions. Will that continue?
I’ve been the CEO for two years and during this time my focus has been on integrating several businesses we picked up in the past. That meant consolidation of a lot of platforms and we are working through that profitably.

We have 4.8 million subscribers on our platforms and our intention is to grow our subscriber base through our strategic web presence and digital marketing platforms. And yes, we are looking at acquisitions again.

Which are the areas you will be looking acquisitions in?
With our global platform strategy, we are open to acquisitions that fit two criteria – the first is it has to have demonstrable economic value for customers in the small business and web professional space.

It has to be something that we could deliver on one of our strategic platforms versus leaving it as a stand-alone business or stand-alone platform for the long term. It has to be something that can integrate into Endurance to make our customers more successful.

How do you see the India market? What is the opportunity here?
India has over 57 million MSMEs, out of which over 16 million are connected on the Internet (as per a Google-KPMG study). Several of these businesses will create presence on the Internet with the help of web designers and developers, collectively called web professionals. India and APAC are very much web professional centric markets, more so than the US.

With our ResellerClub (a platform for web services) team and platform, we have created a scaled footprint serving web professionals for over a decade now. We are globalizing that effort with our leadership in the APAC team. We feel India and APAC show real growth opportunity for us as we focus on selected platforms and brands.

You have an India first product approach with over 500 staff in India. Can you give examples of the India-first products?
Our ResellerClub platform allows web professionals to manage multiple customers starting with their domain purchase all the way to a website, procuring hosting, procuring business productivity tools and protecting their websites with SSL, malware protection and backups.

Our engineering team in India is working on creating product enhancements and improved performance of our platform. We have been an enabler for web professionals and so our ultimate goal in India and in APAC is to continue to improve our focus on serving those professionals who built their business serving the end small business customers.

We feel like there is lot more we can bring to web professionals and, as we have gone through this consolidation and focus period (I call it focus, simplify and execute), our India team is doing a great job and we are increasing the size of India team for our global play.

What kind of investments are you making in India? Can you give a dollar figure?
I won’t give you a specific dollar figure. We are absolutely hiring folks in India that do software engineering, IT and data center operations, product management, marketing, and analytics.

We are here in Bangalore today christening our new office where we have a little over 150 people. But we took more space and capacity to more than double our headcount here. We currently have over 500 people in India between Mumbai and Bangalore. We feel that this team does great work for us and they are critical for multiple aspects of our global strategy.

What are the challenges you see working in India?
Our challenge is when we acquired a lot of businesses rapidly (including some in India), we did not integrate our global platforms fast enough and therefore could not bring our global capabilities to India.

What are the new trends you are seeing in email marketing?
We are seeing not only ourselves but our competitors broadening the solutions they provide beyond just email marketing. We have integrated our website builder into our email marketing platform. So, if you want to do business with Constant Contact which is one of our pillar brand, you can actually buy a website, build a website, do email-marketing, get Office 365.

What is the focus of your R&D effort?
Our focus for R&D is user experience enhancement because when the business got put together with a number of acquisitions pretty rapidly, we had to make sure our user experience is first-class. That is a big effort and we are spending time on improving it whether it is our ResellerClub or any of our direct-to-SMB brands such as BigRock, HostGator and Bluehost.

Secondly, it’s the ability to integrate third party capabilities. Ease of integration of things which we don’t have to develop but we know our customers want to procure and keep integrating with their web platform.



via ET

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