IoT-based smart lock startup Openapp raises fresh funds for B2C push

IoT-based smart lock startup Openapp raises fresh funds for B2C push
Gotama Gowda, CEO & founder, Openapp
16 Jul, 2020

Openapp, an internet of things (IoT)-based startup operated by Bengaluru-based Open Appliances, has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.76 crore) from returning investor Unicorn India Ventures.

The company will use the fresh capital to strengthen its push into the business-to-consumer (B2C) market, which it entered in November 2019 with the launch of fingerprint and bluetooth-enabled padlocks.

The padlocks were launched in different sizes to safeguard gates, shutters of shops and warehouses, and personal items such as backpacks, purses and laptop bags. This was followed up by a range of smart door locks in May.

“Since the B2C launch, Openapp smart locks have been bought by consumers in 353 cities and towns in India. More than 80% of those orders are from tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Among the top 10 metros, Bengaluru and Hyderabad have performed the best. The online business has seen a surge of 60% month-on-month growth after the Covid-19-induced lockdown was eased,” Gotama Gowda, CEO and founder of Openapp, told TechCircle.

Gowda founded Openapp in 2015 and has been active in the business-to-business (B2B) segment since then.

“When we entered B2C space, it was a natural progression for the business. But we didn’t anticipate a majority of our customers would come from tier 2 and 3 cities from remote areas like Khatima (Uttarakhand), Nambol (Manipur), Parwanoo (Himachal Pradesh), Naharlagun (Arunachal Pradesh) and Nanour (Bihar) to name a few. We expected metros to be early adopters as awareness about smart devices is tremendously increasing among Indians,” Gowda said.

Additionally, the company will soon launch an integrated software platform with artificial intelligence and IoT capabilities to help customers manage their home or other assets remotely via an app, he said. 

“This platform will further popularise smart devices by making them extremely affordable and accessible to the common man, he added.

Apart from selling its products online and through ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, the company has also launched 57 offline stores across four south Indian states –- Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

Openapp, which aims to break even in the next 12-18 months, last raised funds in February 2019 when Unicorn India Ventures and the Karnataka government’s venture capital fund KARSEMVEN wrote a $1.3 million cheque for it.  Prior to that, it raised seed funding from Axilor Ventures and Zoho co-founder Sridhar Vembu in November 2017.

Openapp currently works with players in the logistics, ecommerce and telecom sectors in India and has also expanded its operations to Kenya, Niger, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

The company has witnessed a surge in demand since Covid-19 has forced many people to work from home, Gowda said, adding that the demand is here to stay.

“With the Covid-19 outbreak, as most other startups found themselves in a tight spot, we saw Openapp go strength to strength and continued to grow the business. Their products are quite simply unique and address a real market opportunity. Their entry into B2C has shown that there is validation and acceptance from the consumers to change centuries old locking mechanisms,” Anil Joshi, managing partner at Unicorn India Ventures, said.

The venture capital firm recently invested in fintech startup ChitMonks and healthtech startup SaScan Meditech from its second India-focused equity fund.