Knowlarity Communications acquires customer engagement start-up Smartwards

Bengaluru: Cloud telephony start-up Knowlarity Communications Pvt. Ltd has acquired Smartwards Services Pvt. Ltd, a Gurgaon-based start-up that helps small businesses with loyalty programs.

The news was first reported by the Economic Times on Monday.

The founders of Smartwards, Shantanu Mathur and Dhanraj Singh Bisht, will now lead the India operations for Knowlarity.

“We will continue to use acquisitions as a natural extension of our strategy to further build capabilities and acquire top talent,” said Ambarish Gupta, chief executive officer, Knowlarity, in a statement.

This is the second acquisition for Knowlarity, which employs about 450 people and has so far raised about $22.5 million from investors Sequoia Capital and Mayfield Fund since it started in 2009. It earlier bought Unicom Techlabs Pvt. Ltd, another start-up in the same space in January 2014, and claims to serve about 15,000 customers in 65 countries.

Knowlarity’s competitors in the cloud telephony space Exotel Techcom Pvt. Ltd and Ozonetel Systems Pvt. Ltd 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.

Start-ups that cater to small businesses in India have garnered some investor interest over the last year, with SnapBizz Cloudtech Pvt. Ltd, which devises technology for grocery stores, raising $7.2 million in an investment round led by venture capital firms Jungle Ventures, Taurus Value Creation, Konly Venture and Blume Ventures in January.

“We realized early that to make a successful product for the Indian customer, one has to solve the problem in-depth and at-scale. However, the SME is not an easy market to crack in India and thus we were looking to move to a larger platform. With Knowlarity, we get the freedom and agility of a start-up in a well-established organization,” said Mathur.


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