Chennai based Sify, is one of the few
successful dotcoms, which have survived the slowdown bust. Though still a loss
making entity, the company has learnt to cope up with hard economic conditions
the tough way. The Nasdaq listed firm is looking forward to go in for an Indian
IPO, when there is ‘optimism’ in the market. Zia Askari of CyberMedia News
Service spoke to George Zacharias, President and COO of Sify, about the company’s
current focus and future strategy.
What are Sify’s priorities as of now? Are you still a loss making
We want to strengthen our areas of business and further-more venture into
other segme-nts related to the Internet economy. The company is focu-sed towards
designing and developing e-commerce and network connectivity solutions that
connect business systems. Right now, we are concentrat-ing on areas such as–Web
hos-ting, enterprise solutions, e-lea-rning, e-community develo-pment and Web
In the last quarter, we have generated revenues of about Rs 67 crore and
limited the losses to only Rs 1.5 crore. This is the lowest loss that we had;
when compared to other quarters and we are on our way to profitability.
There is a lot of talk in the market about your IPO. When
exactly do you want to go in for that and how big would it be?
We want to enter the IPO market at the right moment, when there is enough
‘opti-mism’ in the air. Though there have been some good IPOs this year like
the Maruti one, but still we would like to wait for a good opportunity to hit
the Indian market.
The timing depends on the market sentiments and how investors
feel about the market conditions. I will not be able to give the details about
the time or the size of the offering, but it will be a big IPO.
What are the areas where Sify would be focusing heavily in
the coming months?
Wi-Fi is one such area, where we are going to invest a lot of time and money in
the coming months. As of now we have more than 120 hot spots within the city of
Bangalore itself. We will be venturing into other regions as well, as far as
Wi-Fi is concerned. We are in the process of negotiation with some chains in the
consumer sector for Wi-Fi enablement.
Enterprise solution is anot-her area, where we would be
focusing heavily. More than 50 percent of our revenue comes from this segment.
Here we are primarily providing VPN secu-rity solutions and VOIP solu-tions. In
the coming months, we are also going to focus on providing IP-VPN based
solu-tions and services to our cus-tomers. IP-VPNs are being used across a very
wide spectrum of user types in terms of industry sector, company size,
geo-graphical location, the number and distribution of company sites,
communications envi-ronment and spending on communications.
We are seriously looking at providing networking services for
the overseas market (pri-marily US) and around IP-VPN, there would be a whole
set of offerings and services that will help us open different revenue streams
for the company.
What are your plans with regards to iway chain of cyber
iway was initiated with an aim of realizing our vision of taking the Internet to
the mas-ses and enabling a communica-tion, information and know-ledge revolution
in the country. iway offers consumers a brows-ing experience and redefines the
standards for the public Internet access market.
At present, iway consists of over 700 centers operational in
Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. Plans are on the agenda
to int-roduce more iways in Kolkata, Ahmedabad and other metro-politan cities in
India, in the near future. We are in the process of adding two to three iways on
a daily basis. We have a franchisee model for this line of business and our
franchisees get 70 percent in the revenue, while we get the rest 30 percent.
What is the equity structure for the company as of now?
As far equity is concerned, around 30 percent is with Sat-yam, 23 percent
with SoftBank Ventures, 11 percent with CDC and the balance is listed on Nasdaq.
Despite the fact that we have made loss in the last quarter, we are the largest
advertising revenue portal in India and this is something that we are proud of.