Smart-watches startup Sensegiz raises $500,000 from Karnataka VCs.
Bengaluru | Red Newswire | By ET Bureau | 19 Nov 2015 11:26 AM IST.
Sensegiz, one of the earliest makers of smartwatches in India, has raised $500,000 from Karnataka Semiconductor Venture Capital Fund (KARSEMVEN), making it one of the first hardware companies to get commitment from a venture capital firm. This also KARSEMVEN’s first investment outside of startup capital Bengaluru. The device maker plans to sell 1 lakh units by next year, all of which will come from manufacturing facilities in Mysuru. “We are manufacturing this completely in India. That’s why we got the funding,” said Abhishek Latthe, CEO at Belgaum-based Sensegiz.
“For many hardware startups, getting the initial amount is more difficult than getting subsequent rounds of funding. This round will help us get to the next level,” said Latthe. Two-year-old Sensegiz has two products: FIND, a device tracker, which has sold 20,000 units so far, and STAR, a smartwatch that has sold 3,000 devices through US-based retailers such as Target.
The watch and device tracker, both of which are sold across the US and Japan, pairs up to one’s smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy protocol. The company said its USP is in the various formats in which the kith and kin of smartwatch users are alerted in case of a mishap. If the user falls down or has an accident, a push notification is triggered to concerned people. In addition, an audio of what has transpired is recorded for a minute or two and emailed as well.
“Sensegiz did its sourcing, assembly, research, all out of Karnataka, and has a proven global product. This was a right fit for us,” said Manish Kumar B, assistant VP at Karnataka Information Technology Venture Capital Fund (KITVEN), of which KARSEMVEN is the third fund. This is KARSEMVEN’s third investment from the Rs 96.15 crore fund and it has taken convertible preference shares in the company. Set up in 2014-15, KARSEMVEN invests in sectors such as semiconductor, electronics system design & manufacturing (ESDM) and embedded systems in Karnataka.
“Till date, we have gone through the B2B (business-to-business) route,” said Latthe, who has a Masters in Mechatronics from University of South Hampton. “Now, we want to tap the B2C (business-to-customer) segment.”
Sensegiz is targeting the smartwatch market, which is poised to reach $32.9 billion by 2020, according to US-based Allied Market Research.