Startup Sunday || Season 3 Episode 27 || Justdial

Previously in 80’s and early 90’s, could anyone even imagine how life can be this convenient! Opportunity always lies there but only few have those eyes to see it and become the CHANGE-MAKERS!

In this edition of Startup Sunday, we present to you the story of one such endeavour by the dynamic personality Mr. VSS Mani, has made a huge difference in society by providing local search services.


About Just Dial

Just Dial Limited is India’s No. 1 Local Search engine that provides local search related services to users across India through multiple platforms such as website, mobile website, Apps (Android, iOS, Windows), over the telephone (voice, pan India number 8888888888) and text (SMS).The company’s operations began in 1996 with offering local search services under the Justdial brand, which is now the leading local search engine in India. It’s search services bridge the gap between users and businesses by helping users find relevant providers of products and services effortlessly, while helping businesses listed in Justdial’s database to market their offerings. Justdial has a database of approximately 23.8 million listings as of September 30, 2018. It has 131.3 million quarterly unique users across web, mobile, App & voice platforms as of September 30, 2018.


Journey of Justdial right from its inception


V.S.S. Mani was doing CA article-ship along with graduation.He had to drop in-between to contribute to his family income. He got a sales job with a yellow pages company called United Database India (UDI) in 1987 and worked there  for around two years.

The eureka moment was when an idea clicked to him – why not have something like this over the phone?


In 1989, Mani, with some more people started a company named Ask Me. This was before the telecom boom. Not many people owned telephones in those days. The idea was good, well appreciated, and they tried to grow as fast as they could. But with the downward turn in the economy, they were natural victims. Also, since it was a new project having three different partners working on it, there were three different ideas. In early 1992, Mani walked out as it was not going in any direction.

  • 50K START-UP CAPITAL & 888 8888

From 1992 to 1996, Mani worked on many different ideas to survive, and to save some money to start his new endeavour Just Dial. This included a concept called Wedding Planner, which was in partnership with The Times of India.

In 1995, The Kandivili Exchange in Mumbai was coming out with its 888 series. Mani contacted  the general manager and briefed him about the idea, and also what he had planned to do with the number 888 8888. He liked the presentation and believed that it was a very useful thing and gave Mani the number. It was a difficult thing to do in those days. But it happened. Sometimes when you dream and you are really passionate to get something, you get it.

At present, the market share of Justdial in the classified website


How does it work


Business Model


Revenue Model of Just Dial


Message by the Founder and CEO


When asked about the secret of his success, here is what Mr. Mani said:

“I feel you need to be passionate about what you want to do. You have to keep thinking. You have to take actions and not just think. Many people only think and don’t take action. If they take actions, they don’t analyse it, and they don’t change their way.

Remember, entrepreneurship is different and not like a regular job. It’s a calling. So don’t go for  it unless you have it in you. It has to come from within. Not because someone asked you to do. Or copying someone else. And remember, there will be lots of failures, you need to learn from them. Don’t do small, incremental things that copy someone else’s idea. Do something disruptive. Don’t do coupons.

During the journey of this enterprise, I have learnt many lessons that no management books could have taught me. Each day had something new to offer to learn. My philosophy was simple—aim for improvement in the business on a daily basis and overcome the challenges in the path. I also learnt that an innate sense of belief in one’s own idea can take you a long way. When we launched, our concept was ahead of its time, but I didn’t give up on my vision. Also, the experience from Ask Me came in handy. I made sure that the mistakes I made the first time around were not repeated. Of course, there were other faux pas that I made, but I didn’t treat them as setbacks, rather as challenges, and countered these in a very creative manner.

Though at every single step there were people who ridiculed the idea, I had the last laugh. I believe there is no substitute for hard work and with perseverance, self-belief and determination, one can transform lives.”

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