WhatsApp CEO Brian Acton To Invest In Indian IoT Startup
In a move to speed up the availability of connected cars in India, WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton with other global business leaders on Monday announced they will invest an undisclosed amount in Trak N Tell — a Gurgaon-based car tracking telematics solutions startup.
Trak N Tell explores the rather nascent market for ‘Connected Cars’ in the fast heating up space of ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications. The company creates innovative products to ensure the safety of passengers while travelling in their vehicle via the use of telematics and connected car technologies.
Commenting on the funding, Pranshu Gupta, CEO, Trak N Tell said, “We are happy to see rising interest in the ‘Connected Cars’ space in India. This funding is indicative of the same and a global appreciation of our attempt to endorse the #MakeInIndia initiative. We will be launching a superior safety solution for individual car and bike owners as compared to the present devices available in the market. Our aim is to offer an Indian version of connected cars that are available in Europe and North America. While the quality is in parity with international standards, our prices will be set in accordance to the Indian market.”
In the United States, the researcher IHS Automotive predicts that by 2017, 60 percent of all cars sold in the U.S. (about 10 million vehicles) will be connected to the internet. Globally, it is estimated that there are 23 million connected cars on the road today with projections for 152 million by 2020. Going by the above mentioned estimates, the industry can grow by 150% y-o-y.
Brian Acton, Co-Founder, WhatsApp said, “Pranshu has extremely interesting plans for the Indian automotive market and I’m very excited to help him scale his business further as an investor. I’m very pleased with the results of the company to date. It is great to be part of Trak N Tell.”
Trak N Tell will be deploying the raised funds towards product development and business expansion. It seeks to hire passionate professionals in multiple verticals which include R&D, operations and marketing. The company currently provides a GPS product that enables car owners and fleet owners to track their vehicles and even immobilize them in case of a theft by simply tapping a button on their smartphone. It also allows for predictive engine failure, preventive maintenance notification, fuel monitoring system and more. It has a R&D team of electronic engineers, embedded software engineers, cloud engineers and mobile app developers. The Trak N Tell hardware has been designed to withstand the harsh environments of Indian roads.
Coupled with their cloud infrastructure, Trak N Tell is able to relay vehicle information in real-time from the vehicle to its customers’ smartphones via the Trak N Tell mobile app. The ability to surf web on-the-go is just one aspect of automobile connectivity. A far significant advancement lies in the communication between cars, between cars and other devices, as well as services delivered over the internet, sometimes referred to as the “Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication”. Also, sensors in cars will provide data about the location and usage patterns of the vehicle and therefore, a more accurate fix on the risks of theft and accidents.
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