Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of wireless technology major Qualcomm Inc., has invested in consumer electronics maker boAt, the company said, without disclosing the financial details. This is Qualcomm’s first major investment in India after it backed Reliance Jio during its fundraising spree in 2020. Qualcomm had invested $100 Mn in Reliance Jio in July 2020.
However, people familiar with the transaction told ET that Qualcomm Ventures has put in Rs 50 crore at a valuation of Rs 2,200 crore. The valuation is unchanged from January when New York-based private equity fund Warburg Pincus picked up a significant minority stake in the wearables firm for $100 million. Qualcomm Ventures will, however, take home a smaller stake, the people said.
boAt is an Indian brand in the domain of consumer electronics established in the year 2016 that offers an extensive range of headphones, earphones, speakers, travel chargers, and cables. It was founded by Sameer Ashok Mehta & Aman Gupta. The website through which they cater is known as boatlifestyle.com. As a digitally native brand in India, boAt has consistently been breaking barriers in a sector traditionally dominated by established global brands, placing Indian brands on the global map. In addition to solidifying its position in the Indian market, boAt has also emerged as the 5th largest wearable brand globally, according to IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Device Tracker report (4Q20).
The funding will help boAt expand its product portfolio across geographies and solidify its research and development (R&D) and manufacturing capabilities, the company said. Sources familiar with the matter said boAT is looking at Qualcomm as a strategic partner to leverage its infrastructure and knowledge capital.
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Rajen Vagadia, VP and President – Qualcomm India and SAARC, said: “As a technology enabler and an investor with a long-standing presence in India, we look forward to being part of boAt’s growth and powering its vision of delivering world-class products to consumers, not just for India but for supporting their vision of global expansion. India is one of the world’s largest consumer markets, with untapped potential. Qualcomm Ventures’ investment in boAt is one of the many steps we are taking to reinforce India’s twin missions of Atmanirbhar Bharat (a self-reliant India) and Make-in-India-for-the world, by enabling cutting-edge technology innovation and R&D in India.”
The direct-to-consumer (D2C) startup has an 18% share in the true wireless stereo (TWS) market in India, according to Counterpoint Research data, followed by Mi at 16%, Realme at 12%, JBL at 8%, and Apple with 6% share of the market.
The company recorded a revenue of Rs 5 billion in FY20. Experts believe that it will reach around Rs 10 billion in FY21. The company has further claimed that its average order value has jumped from Rs 450 to Rs 750.