Leading Indian diversified watchmaker Titan acquired Hyderabad-based wearable and IoT platform startup HUG Innovations, which has been transformed into Titan's Hyderabad Development Centre, the company announced on Tuesday.
"HUG Innovations has finally sailed to a safe harbour. Titan acquired HUG Innovations. And yes, this is a cash positive exit with 100% employee retention with bonus and a great career ahead," said the startup's founder Raj Neravati in a Facebook post after the announcement by Titan.
However, he declined to divulge the value of the acquisition.
Neravati started HUG to address women's safety issues, triggered by the Nirbhaya incident way back in 2012.
"I was working in the US and well settled in a tech job. But after the Nirbhaya incident, I returned to India and wanted to do something to address women's safety," told Neravati to IANS about the startup which operates from Gachibowli in Hyderabad.
HUG manufactured smart watches embedded with safety features in collaboration with Foxconn and fitness bands, building a customer base of 30,000 people.
In December, HUG publicised a fitness band available on Amazon for Rs 1,799 and a smart watch for Rs 4,499.
In May 2019, HUG won a US patent for gesture control technology which can raise an SOS alarm using gestures, Neravati said.
Titan Watches and Wearables business chief executive S. Ravi Kant said the company was looking for expertise possessed by a startup like HUG which fructified the acquisition as he launched a new smart watch, Connected X, a full touch smart watch equipped with 13 features.
"With the launch of our latest product, Titan Connected X and the creation of Hyderabad Development Centre we have strengthened our play in the wearables journey," said Ravi Kant.
The 23-member HUG Innovations has now been transformed into Titan Hyderabad Development Centre, offering the advantage of expertise in hardware, firmware, software, cloud technology, consumer platform, and patents among others, while appointing Neravati as the head of Titan's technology for wearables.
Ravi Kant highlighted that Hyderabad Development Centre is a big move for Titan which will enable building technology expertise and consumer platform.
Connect X, available from March at Titan stores comes with a 1.2 inch full colour touch screen and analog hands. Its features include activity tracking, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking and others.
According to Ravi Kant, Titan is the fifth largest watch maker in the world, selling 17 million time pieces in 2019, and cornering more than 50 per cent watches marketshare in India.
In the third quarter of fiscal 2019-20, Titan registered a standalone net profit of Rs 470 crore, clocking a rise of 13 per cent year-on-year compared to the Rs 416 crore recorded in the year ago quarter.