Qualcomm Ventures, American chipmaker Qualcomm’s investment arm, has made an equity investment in boAT. The Indian audio accessory manufacturer had also raised $100 million from private equity firm Warburg Pincus.
The company, in an official statement, said the funding will help it expand its product portfolio across geographies and solidify its research and development, and manufacturing capabilities.
Rajen Vagadia, vice president and president, Qualcomm India said the investment in boAT is one of the many steps the company has taken to reinforce India’s twin missions of Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India for the world, by enabling cutting-edge technology innovation and R&D in India.
He said the company will be working closely with Qualcomm to enhance the technology aspect of its audio products. According to market data, Qualcomm offers chips and software aimed at enhancing audio quality on accessories like True Wireless Earbuds, a category which boAT tops the Indian market.
Sameer Mehta, Co-Founder of boAT, said as the company enters the next phase of growth and innovation, they look forward to building a relationship with Qualcomm to deepen their R&D capabilities and further augment efforts to manufacture products in India. “We believe this relationship will contribute to greater technology collaboration, quicker deployment and refining of product portfolio across price points.”
International Data Corporation’s March 2021 report states that shipments of earwear products in India grew by a whopping 258% in the 2020 calendar year. India recorded 30.4 million units of such products, which account for 83.6% of the overall wearable market. Of these, 11.3 million unit shipments were of True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds.
Shilpi Jain, research analyst at Counterpoint Research, said the average selling price (ASP) in India’s TWS market declined by 18% in Q4 2020, driven by affordable launches by various companies, including boAT. “In 2020, the ASP declined by almost 50% compared to 2019.”