Exclusive: Home automation firm Silvan Innovation Labs raises bridge round
Silvan Innovation Labs Pvt. Ltd, which provides home automation solutions, has raised Rs 4.5 crore (around $650,000) in a bridge round from equity crowdfunding platform 1Crowd and existing investor Infuse Ventures.
1Crowd contributed Rs 2.15 crore while the rest came from Infuse Venture and a few individual investors.
Bengaluru-based Silvan will use the fresh capital primarily for strengthening its enterprise business, chief executive officer Avinash Gautam told TechCircle.
Silvan was founded in 2008 by Gautam, Giri Krishna, Mohan Gopalakrishna, and Ajay Gupta - all former Texas Instruments executives. The startup creates Internet of Things-based automation solutions for homes, offices and hotels.
Silvan serves the home market through builders while the enterprise market is taken care of by its system integration channel. The firm has also begun selling its products online.
Silvan operates on a business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) model. Nearly 90% of its sales come from developers (home solutions), 5% from its enterprise solutions and 5% from the business to consumer (B2C) segment.
The company works with over 35 builders including Lodha Developers, Tata Housing, Sobha, and Prestige Group in the B2B segment, while it partners with a number of large system integrators to reach out to enterprises and smaller ones to access home individual owners. Its enterprise clients include Reliance, Godrej, ITC, and Tata Steel.
“Last year was difficult for the overall market primarily due to demonetisation, Real Estate Regulation Act, and Goods and Services Tax,” said Gautam.
“While the industry’s prospects look promising, we had to overcome this short-term crunch in the ecosystem, for which we reached out to 1Crowd. This round will give us some cushion to operate confidently for the next one year,” he added.
Silvan’s products are voice-ready and are integrated with Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.
“We have listed just one product on Amazon as of now. We will have more user- friendly and plug-and-play products going online on e-commerce platforms shortly,” Gautam said. “We are looking at growing our online sales to at least 5% of our revenues this year.”
Gautam said Silvan posted net sales of Rs 10 crore in the financial year 2017-18 and he is confident of doubling that number in the current fiscal.
“Even with our increased focus on the enterprise and B2C segment, we expect the builder business to dominate our revenues by leaps and bounds, not because other businesses are declining, but because the builder business is growing much faster than we anticipated,” Gautam said.
After bootstrapping for nearly eight years, Silvan had raised Rs 9.5 crore in 2016 in its first-ever round of funding from institutional investors. Infuse Ventures and The Chennai Angels had backed the company on that occasion.
Later, it raised Rs 4 crore in debt from Technology Development Board, which is part of the Indian government’s department of science and technology.
Gautam said that Silvan is currently in talks with a few strategic investors, including some corporate houses in the home automation sector, for a larger fundraise, which it expects to close towards the end of this year.
Launched in 2015 as a crowdfunding platform, 1Crowd marked the first close its debut angel fund at Rs 23 crore ($3.5 million) in March this year.
The fund, which is registered with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has a target corpus of Rs 75 crore including a greenshoe option of Rs 25 crore. The fund co-invests with the equity crowdfunding platform.
Infuse Ventures is an early-stage sustainability and clean-tech fund associated with IIM Ahmedabad’s tech incubator Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE).
Besides CIIE, Infuse is backed by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Technology Development Board, IFC, BP, Godrej Industries, ICICI Bank, SIDBI, Bank of India and Union Bank.
It supports seed- and early-stage enterprises developing new business models across the renewable energy, resource efficiency, waste, water and other sustainability-related areas.
Deals in the space
Mumbai based home-automation startup Picostone recently raised Rs 5 crore from from US based Metaform Ventures LLC.
Last December, Sachin Tendulkar-backed Smartron India Pvt. Ltd picked up a majority stake in home automation startup MiQasa Inc.
NUOS (earlier known as Intuit Things) and WiZN Systems (eGlu) are among the other startups in the space to have raised VC funding in the recent past.
According to statistics and research platform Statista, revenue generated via smart homes in India is estimated to have crossed $400 million in 2017. This figure is projected to grow at a compounded annual rate (CAGR) of 69% to $5.6 billion by 2022.
India’s smart home penetration currently stands at 0.4% and is expected to hit 7.2% by 2022, according to Statista.