Titan invests in wearable tech startup CoveIoT

Titan Co Ltd, Tata Group's watch and jewellery retailing firm, said it will invest $500,000 (around Rs 3.2 crore) in Singapore-based wearable technology startup CoveIoT.

Titan will acquire up to 10% stake in KaHa Pte Ltd, which operates CoveIoT, it said in a stock exchange filing.

The startup will use the funds for product development, research and analytics.

CoveIoT is a wearable tech and Internet of Things platform that enables brands to launch smart products. The startup uses wearable technology to enable GPS tracking, digital payments and monitoring of health and wellness.

CoveIoT has offices in Geneva in Switzerland and Shenzhen in China, besides Bengaluru.

The deal is part of Titan's efforts to build and expand its presence in the smartwatch, wearables and IoT space. Titan Juxt, the smartwatch offering from Titan, is yet to see significant sales growth.

"Indian shoppers are interested in smartphones but not too much in smartwatches. The domestic smartwatch market is contributing to less than 1% of the global market. Breaking the price barrier in the price sensitive market is a challenge. It is a big consumer market and requires a thorough understanding to create a good value proposition," said Pavel Naiya, senior research analyst at Counterpoint Research.

"Shipments of hybrid watches do not cross the million mark in a quarter globally. It only contributed to small part of total smartwatch sales," Naiya said adding that top players in the smartwatch space such as Samsung and Fossil failed to reach double-digit market share in the second quarter of financial year 2016-17.

In May 2016, Titan signed a deal to buy a majority stake in India’s largest jewellery e-tailer which is operated by Carat Lane Trading Pvt Ltd.

Titan began operations as a joint venture between Tata Group Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) in 1980s. TIDCO holds roughly 28% in Titan.

Email queries sent to Titan and CoveIoT did not elicit a respond.

Note: The deal value has been corrected based on Titan's disclosure.

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