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Business News/ Companies / KeyPoint plans to raise £10 million
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KeyPoint plans to raise £10 million

Move meant to accelerate product rollouts and enter growth markets in Europe, Americas and Asia-Pacific

The money will mainly be used to build scale for the company’s latest offering, Xploree, in high-growth markets, its chief executive officer said. Photo: MintPremium
The money will mainly be used to build scale for the company’s latest offering, Xploree, in high-growth markets, its chief executive officer said. Photo: Mint

Hyderabad: KeyPoint Technologies (UK) Ltd, the company behind the Adaptxt predictive keyboard application, is looking to raise £10 million by December to accelerate product rollouts and enter growth markets in Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific.

The money will mainly be used to build scale for its latest offering, Xploree, in high-growth markets, chief executive officer Sumit Goswami said.

Scotland-based KeyPoint, which operates a product development centre in Hyderabad, recently rolled out Xploree, which predicts users’ needs and allows them to look up information from within the keyboard application. The product works only in India.

“Time to market is very critical," Goswami said in an interview in Hyderabad. “We want to have first-mover advantage in other markets as well."

This will be KeyPoint’s third round of fundraising. It raised two rounds earlier from unnamed wealthy individuals; Goswami declined to disclose the amount it has raised so far.

KeyPoint is betting big on Xploree, which has had 180,000 downloads on Google’s Play Store. It is working on an app for Apple’s iOS and plans to introduce it “very soon".

Like most smartphone keyboard applications, Xploree tries to predict a word even as a user is typing it. What it does additionally is display location-based services or offers (relevant to the context) right above the keyboard without the user having to navigate elsewhere.

For example, a user typing the word “flower" would get prompts for Ferns N Petals or Archies—two of KeyPoint’s partners. Someone typing “shoes" would have offers from Zovi, Snapdeal or Jabong, which have also signed up with Xploree.

“We really feel this is going to change the way people interact," said Goswami. “Since we are a keyboard application, we have access to all apps. That gives us an advantage." The company plans to mine this data to build user profiles.

Context-aware, location-based providers will redefine how consumers search for and pay for products and services, technology, research firm Gartner Inc. said in a report. “This will present a new set of opportunities, and a change in the positioning of financial service providers, consumer packaged goods companies and retailers."

Goswami pointed out that because Xploree is a keyboard application, it has access to usage patterns across all applications on a smartphone or a computer tablet. This reach puts it in a better position to give accurate contextual information to users, he said.

About 30 brands, including Cafe Coffee Day, Xtreme Sports Bar, Domino’s Pizza and Zoomcar, have partnered with KeyPoint for Xploree in India.

To take the product into newer markets, KeyPoint has to tie up with local partners. A new round of funding would give the firm the marketing and sales muscle to realize that, Goswami said. Capital from the latest round will be used to augment KeyPoint’s technical resources to build a robust product portfolio.

Total advertising spending on mobile search and discovery is estimated to touch $16.8 billion by 2018 from an estimated $6.4 billion in 2013, according to technology researcher Juniper Research Ltd. “While mobile Web search will continue to account for the lion’s share of ad spend, advertising in local search apps will be the fastest growing market segment," it said in a report in April 2014.

Xploree is currently available in English. It will add Hindi in three months and expand to nine Indian languages in the next six months.

A team of product, language and technical developers worked on Xploree for almost two-and-half years before releasing the beta version in January, according to Prima Dona, vice-president of product innovation, intellectual property and strategy at KeyPoint. The firm has filed patents on discovery, pre-targeting, user-intent analysis and hyper-context technologies.

Adaptxt, the firm’s flagship product, supports 90 languages and 44 specialized dictionaries and is shipped on 50 million devices globally. Original equipment manufacturers from South Korea and those that supply to brands such as Lava and HCL tablets use Adaptxt. It’s available on both Android and iOS.

Adaptxt’s competitor Swiftkey offers support for over 80 languages on Android and 30 languages on iOS. Swype supports 71 languages on Android and 30 languages on iOS.

“Adaptxt is a late entrant into the virtual keyboard market. With Swiftkey having captured the market for both smartphones and tablets, Adaptxt needs to focus on building a stronger interface and addressing their concerns like weak prediction," said Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst and group chief executive, Greyhound Research.

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Published: 22 May 2015, 12:54 AM IST
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