Imagine Marketing, the owner of consumer electronics brand boAt, has raised Rs 500 crore (~$60 million) from existing shareholders, an affiliate of Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity fund and new investor Malabar Investments.
The Series C equity funding round valued the startup at $1.4 billion. The company plans to use the fresh funding to expand its market in the smartwatch category, scale up its business across new geographies within and outside India, enhance its R&D capabilities, and support its local manufacturing plans.
boAt has become a household name for earphones, speakers, and headsets. Founded in 2016, it was expected to be valued at $1.5-2 billion in its IPO, which has now been delayed by 12-18 months. The startup had filed draft papers with markets regulator Sebi for a Rs 2,000-crore IPO in January.
Aman Gupta, co-founder & chief marketing officer, boAt, claimed that the startup has a leadership position in the personal audio market in the country. He said boAt will now look to expand its smartwatches category as a second ‘core’ business. boAt claims to have closed FY22 with net revenue of approximately Rs 3,000 crore.
“The new funding will allow us to invest significantly to disrupt the smart watches spaces with more innovative products. And we are thrilled that investors continue to have strong conviction and confidence in the boAt story,” Gupta said.
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boAt transformed the personal audio market through a portfolio of well-designed, feature-rich products at affordable prices backed by distinctive lifestyle brand positioning, digital marketing, and diversified omnichannel presence across online and offline markets. Partnerships with leading global companies like Qualcomm (also a shareholder in boAt), Dolby, Dirac, and others have helped the company deepen its market presence.
Sameer Mehta, the company’s co-founder & chief product officer, said the smartwatch market today is in the early stages of evolution and most players don’t have control over the end-to-end stack to offer compelling features to consumers. He said there is a significant opportunity to build the smartwatch category and launch more distinctive and technologically advanced products in the near future.
“ Through boAt labs (the 120-person in-house R&D team) we are developing the next generation of products. These products will provide richer features and deeper insights to consumers on their health and wellness to enable them to lead more active and fulfilling lifestyles,” Mehta said.
The company is also diversifying its manufacturing footprint via partnerships with leading electronics and manufacturing players in India, including Dixon, with whom it has created a manufacturing JV. A significant proportion of boAt’s products are now being produced in India (one million units monthly). The company is also putting plans in place to take the brand overseas.