Indus, the regional smartphone operating system, has raised around Rs 33 crore ($ 5 million) as series A funding. The round was led by global investment fund Omidyar Network. The company formerly know as Firstouch, plans to use the money for team expansion and to venture out into other geographies by partnering with more mobile phone brands.
We had reported in December last year, that the firm had tied-up with DeitY (Department of Electronic and Information Technology) to introduce text-to-speech technology in regional languages, which will be integrated in native operating systems. The company claims to have around 2 million users on board and aims to reach up to 100 million people by 2018. Badri Pillapakkam, director of Investments at Omidyar Network says:
“We have a strong bias towards technology innovations that solve large-scale problems through local solutions, we like the intellectual Property that this team has created,”
The company is backed by angel investors such as Snapdeal co-founders Rohit Bansal and Kunal Bahl, Quikr founder Pranay Chulet, InMobi co-founders Naveen Tewari and Amit Gupta and Hari Padmanabhan and Mayank Singhal from Temasek. The company was founded by three IIT Bombay alumni, Rakesh Deshmukh, Akash Dongre, and Sudhir Bangarambandi. The startup recently hired Vaibhav Shastri, former Head of Mobile Phones at Micromax and Chief Executive of Zen Mobiles, to use their expertise to market and expand the product.
The patented Indus OS is built on Android and is available in 12 regional languages, like Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Hindi and Bengali amongst others. The company has language experts on board who are constantly upgrading the language aspect of the product, which Android isn’t currently providing. With over 700 dialects being spoken in the country and a majority of the rural parts being non-English speaking, this was a much needed innovation to make the reach of smart phone technology available and meaningful for Indian population.