Mahesh Lingareddy, founder and chairman of Hyderabad based computer hardware startup Smartron has his eyes firmly trained on the IoT market. The hardware start-up known for its t.phone, the world’s first IoT ready smartphone and the t.book that packs all the in-demand features has added another product to its kitty. Lingareddy is a former Intel veteran who later co-founded Soft Machines, US based Chip Design Company in 2006 and reportedly sold it to Intel for $300 million. His latest investment comes in the form of Chennai-headquartered automotive company Volta Motors, known for its homegrown product – an eco-friendly cross-over electric bike Volta Zap.
Industry pundits have dubbed it as a positive move – with “one Indian startup collaborating with another startup”. The electric bike, Volta Zap, boasts of many impressive features, most notably a digital display, LED Safety lights and a Volta connected app. Though there is no information about the amount invested, Volta will reportedly use the funds for scaling up the development and manufacturing of Volta Zap.
Smartron investment in Volta Motors — step in the right direction
Since its birth in 2014, Smartron has billed itself as an IoT company, dedicated to building an IoT ecosystem across hardware, software and innovation-driven products. The undisclosed investment in Volta Motor also comes with a name change, the Chennai-based startup will be rechristened to Tron Motors, and will crank out IoT-enabled electric vehicles designed and engineered for a global market.
According to a statement, “the strategic investment is part of Smartron’s approach to build broader product ecosystem under AI-powered tronx IoT platform.” Smartron will extend the tronx platform across a range of verticals, from personalized health, farming, smart home to smart infrastructure and will also usher in the next generation of smart devices, sensors, services and care to consumer, enterprise, industrial and infrastructure markets.
Speaking about the investment, Lingareddy shared in a statement, “Our association with Volta emphasizes the strategy that Smartron has pursued from the start, that we need to be known as company that is building a strong product ecosystem across IoT verticals from personal to health to home to energy to farming. Electric ecofriendly bikes powered by an IoT platform like Smartron’s TRONX will be an essential part of our range of smart products”.
As the startup prepares to line up a slew of IoT devices, it has an IoT app store in place and is reportedly mulling an IoT hub to connect smart devices at homes and offices. If news reports are anything to go by, the company already has two R&D centres in Hyderabad and Bangalore and had ambitious plans of notching up employee strength to 500.
The company is betting big on IoT and Artificial Intelligence as the next big wave of huge disruptive opportunity. Smartron’s core offering is tronx™ — the AI powered IoT platform that powers Smartron high-end tbook and tphone products and enables users easy access to the tstore, tcloud (unlimited storage) and tcare.
From Tronx 1.0 to Tronx 2.0
According to news reports, Smartron will soon debut a revamped Tronx platform. With the overwhelmingly positive response from the market, the startup will soon release an updated version of its platform with added features. The founder-Chairman believes the software agnostic Tronx platform can power a range of verticals, from health to infrastructure, education and farming as well.