Zenrin set to buy 24% stake in MapmyIndia

Japanese map publisher Zenrin is all set to buy a significant stake in an India-based

digital-map company that is being valued at $125 million.

Zenrin is in advanced talks to invest $30 million for a 24% stake in MapmyIndia, the country's largest provider of digital-map data and consumer-navigation services, said two people familiar with the development.

One of the persons added that the funds will be used to expand operations at the Delhi-based firm and also offer a partial exit to some of the existing private-equity investors. The company has received funding from Qualcomm Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Sherpalo Ventures and Nexus India Capital.

A director at MapmyIndia, Rohan Verma, declined to comment on the development. The deal, put together by a Japanese investment bank and ICICI Securities, will see a reduction in the 45% stake held by founders Rakesh Verma and his wife Rashmi. The company founded in 1992 offers internet, mobile and in-car navigation products, covering major cities and 6 lakh villages across the country. The deal with the Japanese firm will help the firm launch new products that currently has revenues of 42 crore and is widely regarded as India's Google Maps.

"Mapping in India is behind the developed markets but is growing very fast, I don't see many companies creating raw information in terms of mapping but there will be more who will build applications for navigation," said Akhilesh Tuteja, executive director KPMG.

Verma said that one of the challenges MapmyIndia faces is to ensure that map data is up to date, accurate and localised. The firm which provides customised mapping services has helped beverages major Coca Cola map areas where it scores over competition and regions where it trails in distribution.