Home / Companies / News /  GoQii raises angel funding from Whatsapp, Amazon executives

Mumbai: GoQii Inc., a wearable technology company, said it has raised an undisclosed amount in angel funding from Neeraj Arora, business development head at instant messaging subscription service WhatsApp Inc., and Marco Argenti, vice president (mobile) at Amazon Web Services Inc.

“The funding shall help us develop a stronger technology platform, expand to the Middle East by next month and the US by December this year. Building the brand and marketing is also a focus area as for us," Vishal Gondal, founder of GoQii, said in a phone interview on Monday.

Gondal added that he will be looking at launching its product in the UK and Australia too.

The company was founded by Gondal in February and the GoQii band was launched on 1 August.

“We are a health services company. Most people stop using the fitness wrist bands because they don’t work. It’s not the wristband but the services that make the product effective. Hence, you pay for the services we provide and get the wristband for free," said Gondal.

The company offers two subscription models that cost 6,999 and 11,999 for the half-yearly and yearly packages respectively.

GoQii uses the concept of “Karma Points", which a user can collect relative to the distance he walks or runs when using GoQii. The company has entered into partnerships with philanthropic organizations that will convert the Karma points into donations that will be given to charitable organizations.

It is the concept of these social points that differentiates the company from other players, such as Nike Inc.’s FuelBand, Fitbit, and Jawbone UP.

Sanjay Parthasarathy, chief executive officer (CEO) of Indix, and an angel investor with GoQii, said he invested money in GoQii because of its “effective and integrated technology ecosystem".

The wearable technology sector in India is very niche, according to Amit Mookim, health-care head at KPMG India, who believes that for a company like GoQii, the challenge would be to put in place the right marketing and distribution channels, and get the pricing right.

“It is not associated with a sports brand which may prove to be an additional challenge in brand creation," said Mookim.

Parthasarathy, however, countered that with Internet penetration, marketing and distribution should not be a big challenge.

According to Accenture Plc’s digital consumer tech survey 2014, consumers in India were ranked highest among six countries—including Australia, Canada, South Africa, the UK, and the US—in the percentages of people that plan to buy consumer electronics products during 2015 in numerous categories.

Indians, the survey said, were most interested in buying fitness monitors, smart watches and Internet-enabled eyeglasses.

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