Tendulkar-backed Smartron buys into home automation startup MiQasa
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Hyderabad-based Internet of Things firm and devices maker Smartron India Pvt. Ltd said on Wednesday it has picked up a majority stake in home automation startup MiQasa Inc.

"We have picked up a 60% stake for $1 million (Rs 6.4 crore) cash investment in MiQasa," Smartron founder and chairman Mahesh Lingareddy said over the phone.

Smartron will spend another $1 million to help MiQasa with logistics, brand promotion, sales and distribution and customer care, he said.

“This is not like any angel or VC investment. Our aim is to help MiQasa generate $100 million in revenue in the next five years and for this we will continue to invest in the company,” he added.

MiQasa, which was set up in April 2015 and makes smart switchboards, will now be renamed as "TronX Things", Smartron said in a statement.

Smartron provides its users with a connected platform called TronX, where smartphones or any electric device can be plugged into the system to access its predictive artificial intelligence capabilities. Smartron will launch TronX in India by the end of March 2018.

It also offers home automation devices such as smart switches, switchboards, security cameras, smart weighing scales and smart door locks. “The range of smart home products will start at Rs 50,000 and can go up to a few lakh rupees depending upon user requirements. There will a maintenance charge as well,” Lingareddy said.

Besides TronX, Lingareddy said Smartron will release three new products in January—a new edition of its 'tphone' smartphone, a computer called 'tbook', and a smart wearable.

Smartron recently partnered with Flipkart to launch its smartphone. However, Lingareddy said he is not certain if the smartphone will get more push under Flipkart or Smartron.

The company’s other product is an electric bike. A team of 15 to 20 people from erstwhile Volta Motors has been working on its development for the January release, Lingareddy said. Smartron had acquired Chennai-based Volta Motors in February when it was already working on developing the first Indian cross-over electric bike called VoltaZap. After the acquisition, Volta was renamed as TronX Motors.

Lingareddy said Smartron has raised around Rs 300 crore till date and clocked revenue of Rs 11 crore for the financial year 2015-16.

Smartron's investors include cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and Sanjay Jha, CEO of semiconductor maker GlobalFoundries.

"We are looking to further invest in India, to set up a research and development facility, launch multiple products, and partner with different companies to develop products and devices across various IoT verticals under TronX,” Lingareddy said.

According to statistics and research website Statista, revenue generated via smart homes in India likely amounted to $403 million in 2017. This is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 69% to $5.6 billion by 2022. Currently, India's smart home penetration stands at 0.4% and is expected to hit 7.2% by 2022, according to Statista.

MiQasa, founded by Santosh Kumar Patil, develops smart switchboards that are retrofitted to existing home power systems. The company has been selling the products across India for more than six months.

The company claims that it is working on other smart products such as light sensors, camera-related solutions and smart locks and has generated revenue of over Rs 50 lakh. MiQasa's smart switchboards are priced between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000, three times the cost of a regular switchboard.

Recent deals in the broader IoT space include transportation startup TempoGO raising $250,000 from Javelin Startup-O Victory Fund in November.

In July, Bengaluru-based dairy IoT company Stellapps Technologies Pvt. Ltd raised Series A funding from a consortium of investors.

In May, software services firm Happiest Minds Technologies Pvt. Ltd acquired IoT platform Cupola Technology. In April, enterprise IoT solutions startup Tyre Express raised seed funding.

In March, Tiger Global-backed mobile technology startup Cube26 shut down its IoT business after its flagship smart bulb, Reos Lite, failed to attract the price-conscious Indian consumer.

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