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Affle picks up 8% stake in India-focussed Indus OS
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Affle (India) Ltd, a mobile commerce and marketing solutions provider, has picked up an 8% stake in OSLabs Pte Ltd, which operates the India-focussed indigenous app store and operating system Indus OS.

In a filing with stock exchanges, Affle said it bought the stake in the Singapore-based Indus OS for $2.86 million (about Rs 21.38 crore at current exchange rates).

Affle said the investment was strategic for the company owing to Indus OS operating the Indus App Bazaar, which is India’s largest independent app store. Indus App Bazaar has over four lakh apps in English and 12 other languages, and it also partners with original equipment manufacturers.

“We derive significant synergies with the Indus OS App Bazaar, which through its multilingual capabilities, deeply enhances our vernacular scale and the verticalization strategy,” Affle chairman Anuj Khanna Sohum said.

Indus OS was set up in 2015 and utilises an artificial intelligence-driven app recommendation engine to deliver higher user engagement. Its platform brings together India-centric developers, smartphone brands and end users. It reported unaudited consolidated revenue of Rs 18.05 crore for the year ended March 2020.

Indus OS was founded in 2013 by IIT-Bombay alumni Rakesh Deshmukh, Akash Dongre and Sudhir B Deshmukh.

The company had first raised funds from a group of angel investors including Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, Quikr founder Pranay Chulet, Naveen Tiwari and Amit Gupta from Inmobi in September 2015.

In early 2016, the company mopped up $5 million in a funding round led by impact investor Omidyar Network. The following year, it raised funding from early-stage investor VenturEast and JSW Ventures, the venture capital arm of JSW Group. Later in 2017, the company secured $4 million in a pre-Series B funding round.

Last year, Indus OS snagged funding from the venture capital arm of South Korean conglomerate Samsung.

Affle’s other bets

The investment in Indus OS comes less than a month after Affle signed definitive agreements to fully acquire Appnext Pte. Ltd, a Singapore-based application discovery and recommendation platform.

Investors in Affle have included Microsoft and Times Internet Ltd. In June last year, the company acquired the platform and business interests of US-based mobile marketing company RevX Inc.

Affle listed on the stock markets in August last year, with its shares opening at a 25% premium to the issue price. The IPO of 3.37 million shares — excluding the anchor allotment — was subscribed 86.5 times. At the time, this was the best investor turnout in an IPO in more than one-and-a-half years.

The company reported consolidated net sales of Rs 333.78 crore for the 2019-20 financial year, with profit after tax of Rs 65.51 crore.

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