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Samsung Venture, the investment arm of the South Korean technology giant, has invested $8.5 million in Indus OS and three other Indian startups as the company’s VC fund begins its journey in the country.
Indus OS is a popular Android fork that has built a suite of localized applications focused on serving the masses in India. Samsung and Venturest funded the four-year-old startup’s $5.75 million Series B round.
Smartphone - Vendors - Firms - Micromax - Gioness
Several smartphone vendors, including homegrown firms such as Micromax, Gioness, Intex, and Karbonn are customers of Indus OS, integrating many of its features into their handsets. Earlier this year, Samsung partnered with Indus OS to revamp its Galaxy App Store.
Rakesh Deshmukh, co-founder and CEO of Indus OS, told TechCrunch in an interview that the startup will use the fresh capital to develop more local solutions and build a software development kit for developers that will enable them to make tweaks to their existing apps and add India-specific features.
Deshmukh - Indus - OS - Money - Ads
Deshmukh said Indus OS, which makes money from monetizing ads, would soon partner with more smartphone vendors to expand its reach in the country. This is crucial to the startup as Indian smartphone vendors, which once controlled the local smartphone market, have lost the smartphone war to Chinese vendors, that now control two-thirds of the space, and Samsung.
The other challenge is of course the rise of KaiOS, which has gained popularity in recent years after striking a deal with Indian telecom operator Reliance Jio. Tens of millions of JioPhone feature handsets today run KaiOS, giving many people fewer reasons to upgrade to a smartphone.
Deshmukh - KaiOS - Competitor - Bridge - People
Deshmukh said he does not see KaiOS as a competitor. “It serves as a bridge. It is convincing many people to get online and try...
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