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Internet penetration is about to take off in India and it is the best time for us to enter the market

Web
hosting and domain name registrations company GoDaddy had recently announced
its India entry and had appointed Rajiv Sodhi as Managing Director of GoDaddy
India. Prior to joining Go Daddy, Rajiv worked in various technology roles in
India. He recently held the positions of Director of SMB and Cloud Business,
both with Microsoft. In an exclusive interview with India Digital Review, Sodhi
discusses his plans of establishing the GoDaddy brand in the Indian market.

Web
hosting and domain name registrations company GoDaddy had recently announced
its India entry and had appointed Rajiv Sodhi as Managing Director of GoDaddy
India. Prior to joining Go Daddy, Rajiv worked in various technology roles in
India. He recently held the positions of Director of SMB and Cloud Business,
both with Microsoft. In an exclusive interview with India Digital Review, Sodhi
discusses his plans of establishing the GoDaddy brand in the Indian market.

GoDaddy
was founded in 1997. Considering it has been around for quite some time now, is
it not a late entry in India?

Looking at India
as a market, I don’t think we have made a late entry. Some time back we have
just crossed 123 million internet users in India and this makes it the number
three country worldwide in terms of internet penetration. But from a market
standpoint, it is still a 10% penetration and 90% of the market is still
untapped. Internet penetration is just about to take off in India and we are at
a very good tipping point and it is probably the best time to enter the market.

What
is your take on the competition in India as there as similar service providers?

When you think about domains, websites,
hosting and cloud services, obviously there are a lot of providers. I think the
market is large enough to accommodate all players. The most important thing is
deciding what is most important for the customer and which company innovate the
fastest to satisfy the customer. To be completely honest, the real competition
is the customer. The day I crack what exactly my customer needs from me, there will
be no competition for us.

You
were the Director of SMB and Cloud Business, both with Microsoft. How different
would be your role here as GoDaddy India MD?

Every job comes with its own bunch of
opportunities and duties. In Microsoft I was involved with the same market of
SMBs and in that sense the present role is similar. But I think that the
opportunity in the current role is far more exciting because of the ability to
serve the market with scale. We are also working in making our products very
helpful for the Indian market. And finally, the most exciting part is GoDaddy’s
reputation of providing the best consumer experience and this will be a big
differentiator for us. I am excited to bring this positive experience for the
SMBs in India.

What
are your immediate priorities as the company’s MD in India?

The first priority is to bring and
establish the brand in India and stabilise the business model. Secondly, internet
adoption in the market is at a very nascent stage and there is a need to impart
lot of awareness and education about the benefits of online and internet. That is
one of the key priorities of GoDaddy India. Thirdly, when an SMB comes online, there
is a lot of support and handholding that he needs. Our priority is to understand
what our consumers need and want from us and then deliver them with
satisfaction.

Out
of your total customer base, what is India’s share?

Our global customer base is 10.3 million
and out of that around 100,000 customers are from India. From the market
standpoint, India is GoDaddy’s third market with US being the first followed by
China in the second.

What
are your marketing plans in India?

Right now, it will be too early for us to
comment on this. But marketing and brand building will play a crucial role in
establishing GoDaddy’s presence in India.

What
is GoDaddy India’s team size and geographical presence in the country?

Right now it’s only me and I am looking to
put together a team and we are making good progress in that. We are based out
of the customer care center in Hyderabad.

How
have you witnessed the Indian SME sector adopting to web and cloud services
like yours?

Lets take a step back and talk about IT
adoption. There are a number of challenges that historically have played in
this sector. Affordability and relevance of the solutions offered were a big
challenge in growing the market. Putting money on the table for something
called IT was the last in the priority list of SMBs. Today, some of these
challenges have been addressed and are no more there. The barriers are
decreasing if not completely gone and by 2014-15, we can see that IT adoption
among SMBs will be very high. Reason because internet adoption is growing and
also the SMBs look at the export markets for competitiveness and IT is a great
driver of that.

What
are your personal expectations from GoDaddy India?

My expectations are very simple. I think we
are at a point where we can shape the structure of IT adoption in the country. We
take pride in making small businesses grow bigger and we are very passionate
about that.

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