Kno acquires Cruxlight and Intel acquires Kno: The acquisition story of Ahmedabad-based Nirmit Parikh
Nirmit Parikh is a 2009 graduate from Nirma University in Ahmedabad. Passing out from college, he worked for an MNC for a brief period before starting up Incone Technologies which is into automation of dams to control floods. The software has been successfully tested and implemented in many hydropower stations across the world and various dams, including Narmada dam in the state.
He then went on to find Cruxlight which is a web summarization tool. The idea had come about when Nirmit faced a difficulty in gauging the content of a webpage. For instance, if you're in the offline world in a bookstore and each book has a summary at the back of the page. Cruxlight intends to do this for every web page. It gives you a summary of the text within that page so that you don't have to go through the entire page.
Evolution of the product
Nirmit had started work on the project alone and this was early in 2012. Done with the prototype, he demoed it at Echelon in Singapore where the product was recognized and also received a lot of termsheets for investment. “The offers were really good but I somehow decided to wait for a bit,” says Nirmit. He went back to Ahmedabad and hired Tanmay Desai, the COO who turned out to be a great match and now works in the capacity of a co-founder. The two of them quickly put together a team of 5 and started polishing the product.
The initial version was a bookmarklet which the users needed to click on whenever they were on a page. “The reviews were amazing and people loved the idea but somehow after installing, people weren't using it,” says Nirmit. The team realized that the behaviour is not ingrained within a user and hence they had to give something which didn't need attention once installed. And thus came in the Cruxlight widget which would automatically come into action once installed. This version picked up and they had close to 5 million+ summaries within 3 months of launch.
And then came in the acquisition flurry
The time was early 2013 now and Nirmit had looking out actively for investors or an acquisition. He had a couple of mentors in Stanford University where he was visiting on a business trip. “We had met a few investors but it by this time, we were sure that we'd like to take the acquisition route,” says Nirmit. They met the founder of Kno, one of the upcoming Edutech startups in the valley. They found a great synergy between their thoughts and the acquisition came through. The entire team and IP of Cruxlight was acquired by Kno.
Kno started out as a hardware business and later pivoted into software. The company was specifically into apps that let students read interactive versions of digitized textbooks and thus the synergy with Cruxlight. And in a recent development, Kno has been acquired by Intel. Joh Galvin, GM of Intel Education says:
The acquisition of Kno boosts Intel’s global digital content library to more than 225,000 higher education and K-12 titles through existing partnerships with 75 educational publishers.
And in this acquisition chain, Nirmit is now the Director of Data Analytics at Intel Education.
The Ahmedabad picture
Throughout this chain, Nirmit has tried to have a base in Ahmedabad to help the ecosystem grow. “I want to play a role in bringing the technology scene big time in Ahmedabad,” said Nirmit Parikh at YourStory Bootcamp where he was a speaker to share his experiences. The Ahmedabad tech scene has picked up momentum due to young entrepreneurs Nirmit and effort by others like India NIC who have created a services giant from the city and Space-O which is another services company that has put in money into product startups.
Stories like Nirmit are the ones which will help foster the spirit of entrepreneurship and help take it to the cities apart from the metros.