Indian handset brand Micromax announced its first global strategic investment today. It has acquired a stake in New York-based consumer cloud platform MiMedia. The terms of the deal wasn’t disclosed. The announcement comes just days after declaring revenues of over Rs 10,900 crore in FY 2015.
The deal seems to be a part of Micromax’s larger strategy on making investments in software startups whose solutions could create a differentiation in their product offerings. The company has set up an acquisition team that is assessing technology startups across the US, Israel and India. The Gurgaon-based firm plans to invest as much as USD 400 million in 20+ startups across healthcare, entertainment and gaming sectors. Micromax has so far announced investments in mobile travel search and marketplace ixigo and fitness app HealthifyMe.
Launched in 2010, MiMedia is a cloud-based online backup service directly competing with the likes of Dropbox and AltDrive. The company provides an option to backup files through a physical portable drive mailed to the users to avoid challenges of typically low speeds on broadband connections. Moreover, their product claims to offer consumers rich and engaging experience to curate, personalize and (re)discover digital memories. Rahul Sharma, Co-founder, Micromax says,
We invest in companies that are providing innovative solutions for our customers and give them scale and access to our ecosystem. As a mobile first country, consumers’ personal media needs to be easily accessed, organized and shared amongst family and friends.
According to the reports published by IDC, Samsung maintained its position as the market leader in the smartphone segment with Micromax settling for the second position, holding a market share of 18 per cent in Q4 of 2014. In July, Micromax also announced an investment of Rs 80 Crore in setting up a manufacturing unit in Telangana.
Micromax’s investment in software startups indicates their increasing focus on offering services from exclusively producing electronics. This could be compared to the models taken by Apple and Xiaomi, blending device and services. Moving forward, owing to the volatile shelf life of smartphones, the consumer handset manufacturers will see increasing opportunity in venturing into cloud-based service provider models. With their investment in cloud based services, they seems to be planning to create an ecosystem of services with the smartphone being central to this theme.