Knowlarity raises $20 million from Dubai’s Delta, others
Cloud telephony provider Knowlarity Communications Pvt. Ltd said it has raised $20 million in a series C round of funding led by Dubai-based private equity investor Delta Partners, a new investor, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital India and Mayfield Fund.
This round also included a “small amount” of venture-debt from Blacksoil and Trifecta Capital, founder Ambarish Gupta said, bringing the total amount raised by Knowlarity to $41 million.
Knowlarity will use the fresh funds to continue its international expansion in South-East Asia and West Asia, as well as to launch new products that have analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities.
Knowlarity was founded in 2009 by Gupta, an IIT Kanpur alumnus. The company shifted its headquarters to Singapore in 2013.
The firm, which claims to have 15,000 customers, has offices in Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bengaluru, besides five locations in South-East Asia and West Asia, and employs about 300 people.
Its clients include Google, Amazon, Uber, Practo, Ola, Zomato and Swiggy.
Knowlarity competes with Exotel Techcom Pvt. Ltd and Ozonetel Systems Pvt. Ltd, among others.
“When we started out in 2009, we were the first in the space. We are not terribly concerned about competition. We have a strong management that can execute a very complex business,” said Gupta.
Knowlarity will continue to concentrate on small businesses, he said.
“Emerging markets in general don’t really have that many large enterprises and the enterprise market is very small. So we do serve enterprises because it’s the same technology, but our focus is on small to medium sized businesses and we’ll continue to do that,” Gupta added.
“Knowlarity has established itself as the leading player in the consumer-to-business communications industry in India, and is now exporting this expertise internationally. We are excited to participate in this fascinating and fast-evolving industry and look forward to actively supporting the management team at Knowlarity,” Dominic Halfpenny, partner at Delta Partners Capital, said in a statement.
Knowlarity will also use the new funds to make acquisitions for talent, or boosting revenues.
In May, Knowlarity acquired Smartwards Services Pvt. Ltd, a Gurgaon-based start-up that helps small businesses with loyalty programs. The founders of Smartwards now lead the India operations for Knowlarity. It also bought Unicom Techlabs Pvt. Ltd, another start-up in the same space, in January 2014.
Knowlarity’s competitors Exotel and Ozonetel have also made acquisitions in the last couple of years.
Last year, Exotel acquired Voyce, a platform that helps businesses collect customer feedback, as part of its efforts to strengthen its customer service offerings, and voice-based social media start-up Croak.it!
In 2014, Ozonetel acquired the speech recognition business of Yantra Software, a provider of speech and voice technology products and services.
One of the biggest challenges in building Knowlarity was finding the right technical talent in Delhi (where it first started) to work on cloud telephony, according to Gupta.
“Another challenge is, from a regulatory point of view, it’s a very sensitive country, so we have to handle the officials properly. The quality of the infrastructure in India is not very good, you have to do a lot of fault tolerance to make sure things are reliable and scalable,” he added.