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India’s iYogi plans expansion – to India

Jan 11th, 2011
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iYogi, an Indian company that offers remote help to consumers struggling with technology problems, is planning to expand its service to customers in India and China, after the rapid success of its main business in the US.

Since its launch in 2005, iYogi has established itself as the largest subscription help service in the US, with around 400,000 customers in the US paying $170 a year for access to phone and online helplines that have been primarily staffed in India. Its main rival in the US is the Geek Squad customer service operation run by Best Buy, the leading US consumer electronics retailer.

The company, which says it plans an IPO in New York sometime this year, raised $30m in December from investors led by Sequoia Capital, partly to fund growth in India, the Middle East and in Europe, on top of its existing English-language businesses in the US, Britain, Canada and Australia.

But Uday Challu, the chief executive and co-founder, told beyondbrics that iYogi also hopes to use its launch in India this year, its first venture into an emerging market, as preparing the way for further expansion next year into China.

“When you go to India or China you are dealing with a different demographic, with different devices and different problems,” he said.

iYogi’s operations so far have been focused on English-speaking markets. But Mr Challu said it had begun a pilot service in Europe providing support in French, German, Spanish and Italian. He said a planned new service centre in the Middle East – possibly to be located in Egypt – would provide support to Arabic speaking customers, but also to southern European countries. Its planned move into China in 2012 would also involve providing Japanese language support.

iYogi, which has recently opened its first service centre in the Philippines, is also looking for a location in Latin America for a service centre that would work in a number of languages.