Bangalore-based CREO has raised $3 million in a round of funding from Sequoia Capital, Beenext Ventures and India Quotient. The startup will use the funds to develop a smartphone and an Android based OS. It mentions that it will develop a proprietary software around the OS keeping in mind the Indian market.
As per this TechCrunch report, the CREO team is the one that created the HDMI dongle called Teewe under the company name Mango Man. Mango Man had also raised Rs 11 crore from Sequoia Capital and India Quotient in March last year and currently sells the Teewe 2 HDMI dongle. As of now, CREO hasn’t revealed any details about its smartphone, although the company claims it will launch it by the end of this year.
Indus OS funding: Earlier this week, Indus OS, a mobile operating system available in Indian languages, raised $5 million in a round of funding led by Omidyar Network. The OS currently claims to support 12 regional languages and offers an app store with over 15,000 apps as a substitute for Google Play. Unlike CREO, Indus OS does not plan to build its own phone, rather has partnerships with Micromax in India and Elite in Bangladesh, to run on some of their models.
MediaNama’s take: Both these fund raises indicate a resurgence in interest for building an Indian market relevant operating system. Such initiatives have failed in the past; Google’s Android One initiative didn’t make it beyond a few phones, neither did Firefox OS.
However, these operating systems focused on running on low cost devices and crossing the economic barrier of users being able to afford such phones, and generally failed at delivering localized content and an interface in local languages. Indus OS has approached the solution in a better way, localizing content ground up for the Indian market. We wonder what CREO plans to do, but we expect we will see a similarly localized operating system & hardware for reaching out to an increasingly online vernacular India.