Imagine Marketing, the parent of consumer electronics brand boAt, on October 28 announced that it has raised Rs 500 crore from its existing shareholder South Lake Investment, an affiliate of Warburg Pincus, and a new investor Malabar Investments.
The fresh funds will be used for product portfolio expansion in smartwatches category, developing R&D and designing capabilities, scaling of business across channels and geographies even outside India, and support its plans to manufacture locally. The company ventured in the smartwatches segment a couple of years ago.
While most of the boAt products were earlier manufactured in China, the company is now trying to diversify its manufacturing footprint and had entered in a joint venture with Dixon. The company said it has already shifted a significant part of its production in India, producing around one million units every month.
“We have established clear leadership in our core personal audio category and are the number two player globally in earwear. It is a matter of great pride that a brand that was born in India is now ranked amongst the top brands in the world. We now want to make smartwatches our second core and will replicate the boAt digital playbook to become global leaders in this category as well,” Aman Gupta, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of boAt, said.
“The new funding will allow us to invest significantly to disrupt the smart watches spaces with more innovative products. And we are thrilled that investors continue to have strong conviction and confidence in the boAt story.”
Earlier this year, the company had also filed its draft papers with the Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for a Rs 2,000-crore initial public offering (IPO). The company has, however, formally withdrawn its listing plans. The company was allowed to raise Rs 180 crore before IPO but the company has raised more than Rs 500 crore of equity so it proactively withdrew its DRHP, according to a person confirmed an online media platform for entrepreneurs, startups and technology enthusiasts. The company is likely to reconsider its IPO plans in the next 12-18 months.
“We are very excited about the potential of smartwatches. The market today is in the early stages of evolution and most players don’t have control over the end-to-end stack to offer compelling features to consumers. There is a significant opportunity to build the category and launch more distinctive and technologically advanced products,” Sameer Mehta, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of boAt, said.
“Through boAt labs (our 120-person in-house R&D team) and our acquisition of KaHa Technologies, (a world-class wearables technology and IoT platform, with 64 patents and patent applications), we are developing the next generation of products. These products will provide richer features and deeper insights to consumers on their health and wellness to enable them to lead more active and fulfilling lifestyles,” Mehta added.